Scam callers claim to be collecting money for local fire department

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A local fire department wants people to be on the lookout for a scam call that has been going around.

A Wayne Township Fire spokesman said the callers have claimed to be working on their behalf to raise money for fire safety education. The department is not running any fundraisers right now, though.

"It’s a shame that people are like that out there," Capt. Mike Pruitt said.

Pruitt said the calls were actually made to residents of Decatur Township, perhaps in an effort to feel out whether the scam would work. So far, he does not believe anyone has fallen for it.

The caller asked residents to put cash or check in an envelope and tape it to their door to be picked up.

"That immediately caused some suspicion of the residents and so they contacted us to let us know that was going on," Pruitt said.

Tim Maniscalo, President of the Central Indiana Better Business Bureau, told FOX59 the scam call is not surprising, especially given the community support for public safety right now.

"Unfortunately there are people out there that will try to con you into thinking that it’s going to a legitimate cause and it’s not," Maniscalo said.

He suggested that if you do get a call, you take these steps:

  • Ask for the group's 501(c)(3) number, showing they are a legitimate charity
  • Ask more about where the money is going
  • Get a number to call back
  • Look the fundraiser up online to be sure it is being advertised

You can also check the BBB's current Scam Tracker online, as well as the website give.org to look up legitimate organizations.

Pruitt said he's worried that other public safety organizations could be targeted, too. If you get any call like this, he asked that you call your local department to report it and get as much information as possible.