Attorney General Warns About Fraudulent Fundraising Calls

23Staff Report

Attorney General Matt Denn warns Delawareans 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. There is no known charitable organization registered under “Delaware Firefighters Foundation” in Delaware or with the IRS Exempt Organization Division.

“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,” said Attorney General Matt Denn. “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 will actually go to the charity

• 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 reminds you to never give your credit card or bank account information in response to one of these calls. If you are interested in donating to your local fire company, the Attorney General encourages you to visit your local firehouse to drop off your donation in person, or donate 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 you a written donation form and envelope to send in a pledge.

A list of all local fire companies in Delaware and their contact information can be found at the Office of the State Fire Marshal. Anyone who suspects they have been scammed or have received a suspicious solicitation, the Attorney General encourages donors to call the Attorney General’s toll-free Consumer Hotline at 1-800-220-5424 or email the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit at consumer.protection@state.de.us.

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