PENNSYLVANIA, USA — Local fire companies across the Midstate are warning of a new scam.
Many fire companies, including Union Deposit, Lancaster Township, and Rheems Fire Departments have posted announcements on their Facebook pages warning residents of the new scam.
Typically, the potential victim will receive a text message claiming that a local fire department is selling shirts for $10 off, with an attached link. This is increasingly causing confusion among residents.
“The first thing you think of is, ‘are we doing something different,'" said Steven Roy, Fire Chief of the Lancaster Township Fire Department. "We’re a close-knit group, so we kind of know everything that’s going on, and we don’t sell t-shirts.”
For departments that do sell t-shirts, like the Union Deposit Volunteer Fire Company, Captain Andy Dresher says that’s not how they do business with people.
“We wouldn’t use a text blast platform for marketing our t-shirts," said Dresher. "If you want one and stop by the firehouse, we’re happy to give you one.”
The Lancaster and Union Deposit Fire Departments have both spoken out against the scam on their Facebook pages, warning residents away from them. They're not alone either, the texting scam has named dozens of fire stations across the U.S.
The Union Deposit Volunteer Fire Company posted that the text is not endorsed by the fire company in any way.
Lancaster Township Fire Chief Steven Roy says it's disheartening to see it spread so rapidly and added that scams like this could sour relations with the community when it comes to fundraising.
“Early to mid-October, we’ll begin our fund drive. How many people who got this will say, ‘oh it’s from Lancaster Township, is it a scam?’ So it can impact us in a significant way," said Roy.
Fire Companies say people who get those kinds of texts should not click on the link and delete the message.
“For most people, just ignore it and you shouldn’t have a problem with it, although it is a pain in the butt," said Dresher.
For tips from the BBB on how to spot a text scam, click here.