Most of us have likely been the intended target of a scam at one time or another. Perhaps you’ve received an email from a Middle Eastern prince, looking to share his fortune with you, for some reason. Or maybe you’ve received a text message from the Canadian Revenue Agency, which doesn’t text people, telling you that you qualify for some kind of refund, if you would just kindly forward them your credit card number.
Last week, the Township of Minden Hills released a statement warning residents of a telephone scam asking for donations for local fire departments.
“It has come to our attention that an organization claiming to represent the local fire departments is soliciting funds over the phone,” that statement read. “Be advised the fire departments of Haliburton County and the firefighters association do not use a telemarketing service to seek donations over the phone. We remind residents to always be vigilant, and never give out personal information or money over the phone.”
Anyone who receives such a call is asked to call the OPP anti-fraud hotline at 1-888-495-8501.
Volunteer fire departments are central to small, rural communities and in the county, we’re lucky to have the women and men who volunteer their time with the four lower-tier township departments to keep us all safe. If you’re a resident of Haliburton County, you almost certainly know a volunteer firefighter. Maybe you are one. Maybe you’re married to one. The county’s fire departments are comprised of our family, friends, acquaintances and neighbours. And that’s what makes this particular scam so despicable – it plays on our sense of community, our want for safety and our spirit of generosity. It preys on our best nature, and in that way, the perpetrators of this fraud have shown their worst nature. It’s horrendous.
Perhaps the fact this fraud has now garnered the spotlight of public attention, means those behind it will desist. Perhaps they will be caught by the police. Perhaps both.