The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection is warning Bay Area residents of a telephone scam in which people are asked to donate money for firefighter training, a Cal Fire representative said.
The suspected scammer solicited one Santa Clara County resident for an undisclosed sum of money that would supposedly fund Cal Fire training, spokesman Daniel Berlant said.
In reality, the training of the state agency's firefighters is funded through their budget, Berlant said.
"We would never call anybody soliciting money," Berlant said. "That's what our taxpayer dollars go toward paying for, training our firefighters."
The resident thought the call was suspicious, Berlant said, so he did not give the caller any money and reported the scam to Cal Fire. He was unable to get the scammer's phone number or any descriptive information, Berlant said.
"Obviously, we hope there aren't other people out there who have been scammed by this suspect," Berlant said.
A similar scam was perpetrated in Mendocino County several years ago, Berlant said. As in this instance, the would-be victim felt the call was a fraud and did not give any money to the caller, Berlant said.
Though the Mendocino County scam artist was never caught, no scam calls were reported to Cal Fire after the public was alerted to the crime, Berlant said.
Anyone who receives such a solicitation is urged to get as much information from the caller as possible to assist Cal Fire law enforcement officers in finding the suspect, Berlant said.
Berlant said victims should never give money to fraudulent solicitors and should immediately report any scam calls to Cal Fire law enforcement at 408-778-0930.
Cal Fire responds to an average of more than 5,600 wildland fires each year and provides varied emergency services in 36 of the state's 58 counties via contracts with local governments, according to the department.