Phone Scam Uses Name of Deceased Fire Captain
By Tim Brockwell
METROPOLIS - Another phone scam has made its way into the local area, and this time the scammer is claiming to be collecting donations for the family of a Metropolis fire captain who recently died.

Metropolis Police Chief Harry Masse says officers got a call Monday from a local business saying someone called them claiming to be from an organization called "The Illinois Fire Association" asking for a donation on behalf of the family of Metropolis Fire Capt. Chad Parker, who died unexpectedly last month. Masse said the would be scammer hung up when the other person became suspicious and started asking questions. 

Masse said it's very easy for scammers to make it appear they are calling from virtually any number, so you can't rely on caller ID to tip you off that they might not be who they claim to be. He said one of the best ways to avoid being scammed is to ask for a call back number to verify you are actually dealing with a legitimate organization.

"I would never give money, passwords, PIN numbers or account information to anybody," He said. "Get a call back number. Check to make sure that number is legit, and then if you are inclined to donate you can do it with the peace of mind knowing that you called this organization direct, and you're not just talking to some stranger on the other end of the phone feeding you a line of baloney."

Masse says this type of scam is nothing new, and he has seen many variations of it over the years. He said it's hard not to take this particular scam personally though due to the nature of the circumstances.

"It's been less than a couple of months since [Parker] died, and it's crazy that there's predators out there trying to take advantage of an unfortunate incident for their own financial benefit." Masse said.

Masse says anyone who thinks they have been targeted by this or any other scam should contact law enforcement immediately, but he said the best defense is to stop scammers in their tracks before they get your money by staying vigilant and maintaining a skeptical attitude about anyone soliciting donations over the phone.

Published 12:32 PM, Tuesday Nov. 19, 2019
Updated 08:38 AM, Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019

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