Officials warn of fake fundraiser

Officials are warning local businesses about a scam involving a fake Ashland Fire & Rescue fundraiser, after at least one business was targeted in the fraud case last week.

A man who called himself "Bob from Ashland Fire & Rescue" contacted Summitt Forests Inc. on Siskiyou Boulevard last week and asked the business to pay $105 for an ad in a magazine to help support the fire department, said Fire Chief John Karns.

"I just want to make sure that people understand that we're not doing any fundraising and this is just a scam," Karns said Tuesday.

"Ashland Fire & Rescue magazine doesn't exist," he said.

The scammer asked Summitt to send a check for the ad through UPS, and that he would arrange through the shipping company for it to be delivered to him, according to Karns.

"Anytime you issue a UPS pick up for a check, that's suspicious," he said.

Summitt did not send any money to the scammer and has spent the past few days working with authorities to try to nab the suspect, Karns said.

Summitt employees who dealt with the scammer were unavailable for comment Tuesday.

So far, officials have been unable to track down the suspect, who left no contact information, but told Summitt that he would call back "in awhile if there were questions," the fire chief said.

It's likely the suspect has contacted other Ashland businesses, Karns said.

"We're concerned that this probably wasn't the first contact that was made," he said.

Ashland Fire & Rescue discovered the scam after a Summitt employee came to the fire station Friday to inquire about the magazine.

This is the first scam involving Ashland Fire & Rescue that Karns is aware of, although he dealt with similar fraud cases when he worked at the Beverly Hills Fire Department in California, he said.

"People typically support the fire department, especially in Ashland, so I really don't want people to get taken advantage of," he said.

Ashland police recommend that people contact the Better Business Bureau at (503) 212-3022 or if they're concerned about whether a business is legitimate or not.

"We always caution people to be careful of people asking for money and Internet requests," said Lt. Corey Falls of the Ashland Police Department. "I know a lot of people just try to do the right thing and are willing to help and a lot of times people take advantage of that."

Police are encouraging other businesses that may have been contacted by the suspect to report the incident.

"If they think that they're being scammed or that someone's not representing themselves appropriately, then certainly we can follow up on that," Falls said.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact the Ashland Police Department at 582-5211.

Contact staff writer Hannah Guzik at 482-3456 ext. 226 or

Share This Story