Phone scammers pose as fire dept.
PIEDMONT, Okla. - The fire chief of a small Oklahoma town said he hopes his fellow residents do not donate any money to the fire department.
At least, by way of an apparent phone scam.
Piedmont Fire Chief Andy Logan knows more about this scam than anyone else because he’s the one that got the call.
Logan said Tuesday night, a man who identified himself as “Chris” called him and said he was working for the Metro Firefighters Association.
“Taking donations that would go towards fire prevention for kids, CPR classes and many other needs for our metro fire department,” Logan said.
The chief asked which fire department the caller represented; the caller said “Piedmont.”
“So I then informed him that I was the fire chief for the city of Piedmont and I was unaware of this fundraising activity and he immediately hung up the phone,” Logan said.
Logan called back but the local number on the caller I.D. was disconnected.
“They need to do better research,” former volunteer firefighter Bryce Everett said.
He laughed at the irony of the scammers calling the actual fire chief.
However, he hopes word of this scam doesn’t end up hurting the department.
“I would hate to see people not want to support the fire department because of something like this,” he said.
Logan said police determined the caller used a prepaid phone so they were unable to track it.
“In hindsight, I should have strung him along a little bit and tried to (ask), ‘Where do I send my payment?’ and maybe that would help authorities figure out what was going on,” he said.
Piedmont resident Joni Brown said if someone called her asking for donations to support her hometown fire department, it would be hard to refuse.
“My first instinct would be to say yes,” she said.
So when she heard someone could be scamming residents in the fire department’s name, she was disgusted.
“It kind of angers me, especially if it’s somebody from our community because I think we tend to have a generous heart anyway,” she said.
There is an actual Metro Firefighters Association that has been around since the late 1970s.
Right now, they are raising money for Oklahoma City’s firefighters union, as well as 12 other suburbs.
But officials there tell us Piedmont is not one of those affiliations.
Chief Logan said you can donate directly to the fire department by giving them a call.