CHARLESTON \u2014 The West Virginia State Fire Marshal\u2019s Office is warning residents about phone scammers posing as local fire departments asking for money.\r\n\r\nThe fire marshal has received complaints from individuals who were contacted to make donations to a non-existent volunteer fire department fund.\r\n\r\nA second scam soliciting money for the recent tragedy in Pratt has also been reported. West Virginians are urged to be vigilant when receiving any kind of solicitation.\r\n\r\nThe Federal Trade Commission suggests the following to help ensure that donation dollars will benefit the people, organization or community you want to help.\r\n<ul>\r\n \t<li>\u00a0Ask fund-raisers for identification. Many states require paid fundraisers to identify themselves as such and to name the organization for which they\u2019re soliciting.<\/li>\r\n \t<li>\u00a0Ask how your contribution will be used. Ask what percentage of your contribution will go to the fire or police organization, department or program. Also ask if your contribution will be used locally. Get written information.<\/li>\r\n \t<li>\u00a0Call the organization or your local police or fire department to verify a fundraiser\u2019s claim to be collecting on behalf of the organization or department. If the claim cannot be verified, report the solicitation to your local law enforcement officials.<\/li>\r\n \t<li>\u00a0Ask if your contribution is tax-deductible. Make your check payable to the official name of the group or charity. Avoid cash gifts: Cash can be lost or stolen.<\/li>\r\n \t<li>\u00a0Be wary if a fund-raiser suggests you\u2019ll receive special treatment for donating. For example, no legitimate fundraiser would guarantee that you won\u2019t be stopped for speeding if you have a police organization\u2019s decal in your car window. Don\u2019t feel intimidated about declining to give. A caller who uses intimidation tactics is likely to be a scam artist. Report the call to your local law enforcement officials.<\/li>\r\n<\/ul>\r\nWest Virginia State Fire Marshal Ken Tyree says, \u201cIt is concerning any time someone is identifying themselves under false pretenses. We want people supporting our fire departments, but make sure you are dealing with legitimate associations.\u201d\r\n\r\nIf you wish to donate you should reach out to your local fire department and find out how you can help them directly.\r\n\r\nIf you think you have been a victim of a scam you are urged to contact the Office of the West Virginia Attorney General Consumer Protection Hotline 800-368-8808.