Beware of Telemarketers Representing Volunteer Firefighter Interests
There have been reports of telemarketers attempting to solicit donations on behalf of the volunteer fire companies, though funds are actually benefiting a firefighters union.
Telemarketers are reportedly falsely representing themselves as representatives of local volunteer fire companies to solicit funding for a career firefighters' union, according to a release.
This has been an ongoing issue for volunteer companies for at least a year, according to M. Justin Kinsey, vice president of administration for the Baltimore County Volunteer Firemen’s Association.
“If one of these telemarketers call and say that they represent your local volunteer fire company, they are misrepresenting themselves. None of the volunteer fire companies in Baltimore County utilize telephone-based fundraising [sic],” Kinsey said.
"Volunteer fire companies in Baltimore County utilize direct-mail or door-to-door solicitation in order to raise funds from residents and business," the release states.
Kinsey told Patch these telemarketers are people "who either don't know what they're talking about," or "are getting underhanded directions."
The telemarketers are calling on behalf of "the Baltimore County branch of the International Association of Fire Fighters, the union that represents the career (paid) firefighters and emergency medical services providers in Baltimore County," the release states.
Kinsey said union officials have been "somewhat responsive" to claims of misrepresentation, although the issue has persisted for at least a year.
Michael Day, president of the International Association of Fire Fighters, Baltimore County branch (1311), could not be immediately be reached for comment.
More from the release on how these telemarketers operate:
The telemarketers are given a script that they are supposed to follow that specifies the reason for their call, but if a citizen asks a question to clarify where the money is going, some representatives come up with their own answers. "We’ve had people call us upset because they were told by these telemarketers 'if there is a fire at your home, your volunteer fire company will not come to help,'" stated Marci Catlett, Vice President of the Owings Mills Volunteer Fire Company. "That simply is not true!"
Have you been contacted by a telemarketer who asked you to donate to the volunteer firefighters? Tell us in the comments.