BERKELEY - Berkeley police are warning people to be wary of phone solicitors posing as Berkeley firefighters asking for donations.

Berkeley police spokesman Ed Galvan said a man called a Berkeley resident last week, requesting a monetary donation.

"The Berkeley Firefighters Association has never and will never solicit monetary donations over the phone," Galvan said.

Galvan said during the holiday season, "not all phone solicitors have good intentions."

Police say giving money to people posing as representatives of organizations hurts in two ways.

"The benefit is wasted because the organization does not fulfill its promised good deeds and the money is diverted from reputable charities that would use it to provide valuable services," he said.

Police are reminding people to follow these rules before giving:

Find out how the contributions will be spent.

Never give any personal information such as identification

numbers, bank account numbers or credit card numbers to solicitors; pay with a check, so you have a receipt.

Verify the solicitor is working with the organization — if in doubt, make a call to the organization to check it out.

For more information about charitable contributions, go to the California Attorney General's Web site at http://ag.ca.gov/. To report a suspicious solicitor in Berkeley, call police at 981-5737.