Delaware attorney general warns about new charity scam

WILMINGTON — Attorney General Matt Denn warned Delawareans Tuesday to be wary of potentially unauthorized telephone solicitations involving the “Delaware Firefighters Foundation” supposedly on behalf of local fire companies and firefighters.

The calls display a local 302 area code, and the callers request donations for the “Delaware Firefighters Foundation,” or they claim to be soliciting funds for “your local fire company” or “injured firefighters in your area,” without actually identifying the fire company or firefighters by name, according to the Attorney General’s office.

There is no known charitable organization registered under “Delaware Firefighters Foundation” in Delaware or with the IRS Exempt Organization Division, officials said.

“It’s sad that someone is trying to take advantage of the respect we have and support we want to provide to our Delaware firefighters,” Attorney General Denn said.

“As consumers, we have the right to know who we are giving our money to and how it will be spent. So people should ask those questions and be very suspicious if they don’t get an answer.”

Delaware law requires callers to supply you with certain information, including:

• Whether they are a paid fundraiser;

• Where they are calling from, including company name and location;

• The charity for which the funds are being raised;

• The amount of the consumer’s donation that actually will go to the charity; and

• If they are calling on behalf of police, fire or law enforcement, they must either be an actual law enforcement employee or have written permission from the state, county or local first responder organization to make the call.

The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit counseled to never give credit card or bank account information in response to one of these calls. The Attorney General suggested that local fire company donations can be dropped off in person or donated directly to the fire company another way.

Someone calling you to make a legitimate telephone solicitation on behalf of a Delaware fire company (or any charitable organization) should be willing to mail a written donation form and envelope to send in a pledge, the Attorney General’s office said.

A list of all local fire companies in Delaware and their contact information can be found online at the Office of the State Fire Marshal at statefiremarshal.delaware.gov/information/fire_companies.shtml.

The Attorney General encouraged anyone who suspects they have been scammed or have received a suspicious solicitation to call the toll-free Consumer Hotline at (800) 220-5424 or email the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit at consumer.protection@state.de.us.

Reach the Delaware State News newsroom at newsroom@newszap.com

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