Firefighter charity scam targeting San Antonio
Posted On: Oct 06, 2016

SAN ANTONIO, TX - The San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association is alerting the public Thursday about a scam involving callers posing as a firefighter charity. 

Over the past few weeks, people have alerted SAPFFA that someone had called them on behalf of the "Firefighter Support Foundation," asking for money. That organization is not affiliated with SAPFFA and is not affiliated with any known San Antonio foundations. 

"We do not and will never ask anyone for money or donations," said Christopher Steele, president of SAPFFA. "We have dealt with similar scams over the years and unfortunately, there seems to be a resurgence of this type of scheme going on."

A similar scam using the name "Firefighters Support Foundation," was reported in Nevada in 2009, according to the Las Vegas Sun.

If you believe you have received one of these phone calls, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov. You can also check the legitimacy of any organization by visiting the Better Business Bureau's (BBB) charity tracker at http://give.org/

The video below is a sample of one of the phone numbers that contacted one of our members. We attempted to call them, but no one answered. 

The Federal Trade Commission advises never to provide your credit or check card number, bank account number or any personal information until you’ve thoroughly researched the charity. Before giving to any charity, it's important to take the following precautions to make sure your donation benefits the people and organizations you care about.

  • Ask for detailed information about the charity, including name, address, and telephone number.
  • Get the exact name of the organization and do some research. Searching the name of the organization online — especially with the word “complaint(s)” or “scam”— is one way to learn about its reputation.
  • Call the charity. Find out if the organization is aware of the solicitation and has authorized the use of its name. The organization’s development staff should be able to help you.
  • Find out if the charity or fundraiser must be registered in your state by contacting the National Association of State Charity Officials.
  • Check if the charity is trustworthy by contacting the Better Business Bureau’s (BBB) Wise Giving AllianceCharity NavigatorCharity Watch, or GuideStar.
  • Ask if the caller is a paid fundraiser. If so, ask:
    • The name of the charity they represent
    • The percentage of your donation that will go to the charity
    • How much will go to the actual cause to which you’re donating
    • How much will go to the fundraiser
  • Keep a record of your donations.
  • Make an annual donation plan. That way, you can decide which causes to support and which reputable charities should receive your donations.
  • Visit this Internal Revenue Service (IRS) webpage to find out which organizations are eligible to receive tax deductible contributions.
  • Know the difference between “tax exempt” and “tax deductible.” Tax exempt means the organization doesn’t have to pay taxes. Tax deductible means you can deduct your contribution on your federal income tax return.

There are many more tips at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0074-giving-charity.


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Contact Info
San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association
8925 IH 10 West
San Antonio, TX 78251
(210) 699-9400

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