Danville residents warned about phone scams

DANVILLE — Police are reminding local residents to be aware of suspicious telephone callers soliciting money.

Callers claiming to represent the Danville fire and police divisions have been soliciting money from area residents, according to Director of Public Safety Larry Thomason. He said both the fire and police divisions have been referenced in recent phone calls about fundraising activities.

"To my knowledge Local 429, representing Danville firefighters, and the Illinois Police Benevolent and Protective Association Unit 11, representing Danville police officers, are not soliciting at this time," Thomason said in a news release.

According to Thomason, a recent caller, supposedly representing firefighters, was asked for more information and then referenced state- and national-level firefighter groups, claiming the donated money would help local personnel. He said the same is true for callers supposedly representing police.

He said he recommends hanging up immediately on the caller.

"Don't allow them the opportunity to continue talking and possibly convince you they are legitimate," Thomason said in the news release. He also said that if you must talk to them, get the caller to send information about the organization to you through the mail service. Additionally, if caller ID is available, note where the call came from and, better, allow all calls to go through voicemail instead of talking to the caller direct.

Also, according to Thomason, it has been reported that some calls are being placed to local citizens by individuals seeking funds to help defray expenses, such as travel to see a sick family member or to purchase food.

"The callers do not represent themselves as being with an agency but seeking funds to help in their so-called emergency," Thomason said in the news release, "and prey upon the kindness of people to give them money."

Thomason said if residents want to be charitable to such callers, make the offer to purchase a ticket or purchase the item for the person but do not give them cash. And if such an arrangement is made, do so with another person present and in a very public place, he said.

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