Local Agencies Alert Public Of Firehouse Promotions Scam (NBC33 VIDEO)

By Emma Koch - NBC33
By Eric DeFreeuw

September 3, 2013 Updated Sep 3, 2013 at 5:58 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) -- The Fort Wayne Fire Department and BBB Northern Indiana are reporting that Firehouse Promotions, whose location is listed at 3122 Avenue of the Cities, Moline, IL, has been selling advertising in Fort Wayne to businesses stating that they are a legitimate ad organization working with the Fort Wayne Fire Department. In one instance, the name of a legitimate Fort Wayne Firefighter was used and this individual has never had an association with them.

“To convince business owners, they are using phrases such as ‘we also have the support of local hospitals,’ ‘this will benefit kids,’ and ‘you’re assisting your local fire department,” said Mark Nelson, Deputy Chief of the Fort Wayne Fire Department. “Unfortunately, a business owner reported to us that she was so convinced they were on the up and up that she gave them her debit card and later found out $1,000 had been taken from her bank account. To be clear, the Fort Wayne Fire Department has not been contacted by Firehouse Promotions. We are not and have not been affiliated or associated with them in any way. Nor have we ever promoted or endorsed their efforts.”

“Even their website, http://firehousepromotionsinc.com/, looks completely innocuous,” said Marjorie Stephens, Director of Marketplace Services for Northern Indiana BBB. “It would be easy to be convinced that this was a company working for the benefit of a particular community.”

BBB reports their rating, which is an “F”, does not reflect the type of business consumers might consider dealing with. For a full report, please go to the BBB's website. Complaints suggest that this tactic has been used in other instances as well.

“Using the good names of local firefighters to their advantage is even worse. Americans have good hearts and want to do the right thing. Unfortunately, companies and individuals sometimes take advantage of their generosity,” said Stephens.

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