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Local fire departments warning residents of a scam

Posted at 6:24 PM, Aug 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-10 19:24:32-04

A new scam is targeting residents through their mail.

Grafton and Hales Corners residents have been receiving letters in the mail that say they're from local fire departments asking them to donate money, but instead of sending the money to the fire department it goes to a P.O. box in Kansas.

The organization sending out these letters is called Volunteer Firefighter Alliance. They say the letters were sent all over the country.

"Nowhere in the letter does it state that we're giving money to a local fire department," said the owner of Volunteer Firefighter Alliance. "It's pretty clear where the money is going. It goes to us."

But the letters aren't as clear as the Volunteer Firefighter Alliance says. 

Hales Corners Fire Chief Martin Freibergs found out about the letters when an elderly man showed up to the station with the letter and money.

"We have never entered into an agreement with this particular individual or his organization," said Freibergs. "To prey on citizens with false promises and then collect and keep the money for yourself, that's just absolutely a travesty."

Lisa Schiller with the Better Business Bureau says to be on the lookout of the letters.

"If someone were to receive this in the mail I could see where they could think it's a valid organization or even a valid bill," she said.

She also backs the fire department's decision to alert the public not to donate and instead turn the letters over to police.