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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Faux Firefighters Are Scamming the Good People of San Francisco

Posted By on Thu, Jul 26, 2012 at 3:20 PM

click to enlarge Don't even trust them if they are asking you for money
  • Don't even trust them if they are asking you for money

Remember, your local firefighters are here to help you, not harm you ...

The San Francisco Fire Department is warning local residents of a callous scam that's started up again. According to department, one too many residents and businesses have contacted the Fire Department lately complaining that firefighters have been contacting them and asking for money or their personal information.

In one instance, a business owner got a call from a man who said he was raising money to fund the San Francisco Fire Department yearbook. The merchant agreed to donate $195, so the caller sent a UPS package with a $195 COD fee and no return address. Before the package arrived, the generous merchant decided to contact the Fire Department, just to make sure.

When the package arrived, the merchant refused it, according to the Fire Department.

In another incident, a resident got an e-mail that came "on behalf of the San Francisco Fire Department," explaining that he had won a $1,000 Visa gift card, free of charge. It instructed him to follow a bunch of links that would take him to a website where he could claim his so-called prize.

"The San Francisco Fire Department does not engage in any form of solicitation," said Mindy Talmadge, spokeswoman for the Fire Department. "There have been a number of scams reported over the years so I want to be very clear about this -- we do not reach out to the community in person, by e-mail, U.S. mail, or by phone, to raise money for anything."

It's understandable how people might fall for these scams -- who doesn't want to give to local firefighters, especially if it seems like a good cause. But when in doubt (and yes always be in doubt) call the Fire Department at 558-3403 before giving away any personal information or money.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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