Mass. FFs warn of fake T-shirt sale scam that purports to benefit first responders

The text messages, fire officials say, impersonate the “friends of” groups that support town fire departments

Will Katcher

AUBURN, Mass. — First responders across Massachusetts are warning residents to avoid a scam text message claiming to be running a t-shirt sale to benefit local fire departments.

The texts, fire officials say, impersonate the “friends of” groups of towns’ fire departments and offer limited edition t-shirts to support the firefighters.

On Wednesday, the Auburn Fire Department shared an image of a yellow t-shirt with a kneeling firefighter on it. The shirt featured the emblem of the department with text that said, “stand for the flag, kneel for the fallen.”

Nearly identical t-shirt designs have been sent to residents in Spencer, Belchertown, Grafton and multiple other towns around the state. The shirts mostly only change to match the logo of the local fire department.

The text messages appear to also shift only to reflect the town the scam is targeting. In Grafton, for example, residents received texts saying, “Friends of Grafton Fire Department Tshirt (Limited Edition),” with a link to a website.

Similar messages have been reported in other states as well, with fire officials in the Indianapolis area and Southeast Arizona also warning of t-shirt scams.

Nearly all departments have said that neither they nor their supporting organizations are selling any apparel.

“If you receive this text, please do not respond and delete the message,” Grafton officials said.

In Lunenberg, the fire department promised, “Lunenburg Fire will not contact you to buy anything.”


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McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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