Fire Departments in Multiple States Report Text Message T-shirt Fundraising Scam
Fire and EMS departments in multiple states are warning people that T-shirt text message campaigns claiming to raise money for the departments have no affiliation, and are likely a scam.
The Burlington, Connecticut, Fire Company sent out messages warning the community that a campaign selling T-shirts with the department’s patch in memory of a deceased firefighter was not, in fact, a fundraiser or affiliated with the department.
“The T-shirt has nothing to do with our department, it has nothing to do with our department, it has nothing to do with firefighter [Colin] McFadden, and we don’t want people to get that impression in case they, in good will, wanted to make a donation or buy the shirt thinking that’s what the fundraiser was for,” Burlington fire chief Michael Boucher told NBC Connecticut.
In Harwinton, Connecticut, residents received similar texts about T-shirt sales. This time, after ordering, customers say they never received the products. Harwinton fire officials clarified that the department does not sell T-shirts of any kind, and that buyers should report the activity to the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection, according to the News Times.
And in a similar story but located a little farther west in Deforest, Wisconsin, the local fire and EMS departments had to send messages to the community that they do not sell T-shirts after text messages advertising a T-shirt sale made the rounds, according to NBC 15.
NBC 10 also reported that departments in New York have encountered similar scams.
These T-shirt scams work by either outright saying they benefit a local business or cause, or by lying by omission by never explicitly saying it doesn’t benefit them. It’s a bit like the T-shirt scam where a company was selling advertising space on T-shirts for a local high school sports team, but never intended to give any of the money to the school’s sports program.
And with things like patches and T-shirts commonly used as ways to remember fallen emergency responders and raise money for departments, this is something that the average buyer might think is legitimate.