The Swansea Fire Department is warning area residents about a suspicious caller who is reportedly soliciting donations for the department’s “equipment fund.”
Such a fund doesn’t exist, and the department doesn’t solicit donations over the phone, Deputy Chief Christopher Tell said. The department became aware of the scam when a savvy citizen alerted officials to the suspicious call Tuesday. The caller even tried to convince the woman that she had donated to the fake fund in the past. No additional calls have been reported to the department, but Tell said officials are warning people to be aware.
“I would truly hate for people to think they’re trying to help their public safety department (and) come to find out their money isn’t going to what they thought it was going to or (to) something that doesn’t even exist,” Tell said.
“You hear about some of the departments that don’t get much tax revenue, whether it’s a fire district or department. So, some of them might say fundraisers are our biggest way of raising money, but that’s not the case with us.”
The department does not directly accept donations. An independent non-profit organization called the Swansea Fire Civic Association does accept donations that benefit the fire department. However, the association does not solicit individuals for donations, only seeking donations through events and from businesses. Solicitations for donations from businesses come on official letterheads from the association.
I would truly hate for people to think they're trying to help their public safety department, come to find out their money isn't going to what they thought it was going to or something that doesn't even exist.
Swansea Deputy Chief Christopher Tell
Money raised through the association is used to buy “class A” uniforms to be worn at formal occasions and smoke detectors, among other safety tools, to be donated to residents in need. The fire department itself is funded through the village’s general fund.
For more information, call the Swansea Fire Department at 618-234-3291.