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Fire Fraud

Last week, a long-time Vigilant Fire Department member got a phone call from someone claiming to be representing the Great Neck Fire Safety Program and asking for a donation. Knowing that none of the local fire departments ever solicit by phone, Robert Lincoln, made quick work of the caller and reported it to the 3rd Precinct.


Vigilant Chief Laurence Jacobs told the Record: “We are too busy answering calls and undergoing training to ever have the time to call our residents asking for money. On top of that, we receive great support from the community. There is no such organization in town ... we would certainly know about it if it existed.”


We double-checked with the Alerts and Manhasset-Lakeville fire departments who confirmed that they do not make phone calls to seek donations.


Most of the departments send out mailings asking for donations to cover items or programs not covered by their budgets. 


We spoke with a police officer in public information at the Third Precinct, Steve Zacchia, who said that residents should be aware that in New York State, no fire department or police department is allowed to solicit by phone. Nassau

County does have a unit that responds to such criminal activity, the Crimes Against Property Unit. Zacchia advised that no one should ever give out personal information such as credit card numbers when so-called charities call.


Money stolen in this manner not only goes into the pockets of thieves, but damages legitimate charities.


Have a stock reply all ready. Experts ask you to politely state that you never give money over the phone and to request that your name be removed from calling lists.