Firefighters Warn of Fake Fire Inspectors in Southern California

Sunday, October 20, 2013 |

Example of how a fake fire inspector *might* appear
LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Fire Department is warning business owners to be on the lookout for phony fire inspectors.

Businesses in and near Los Angeles have been targeted by scam artists wearing official looking uniforms who claim to be examining fire safety systems by - or on behalf of - the Fire Department.

The fake inspectors ask an unsuspecting employee to sign a form authorizing the "inspection". Weeks or months later, a bill comes to the business owner for "work performed" or "services rendered".

The mailed statement, appearing to have been signed by an employee, usually demands immediate payment for an "annual inspection", threatening penalties for any failure to pay promptly.

The LAFD and Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office want workers and business owners to know that while Los Angeles Fire Department officials do examine businesses, they do not charge such fees for routine inspections.

Most troubling to firefighters is that fake inspections may cause workers and guests to falsely believe that fire extinguishers, alarm systems, emergency lighting, exit signage and fire sprinklers are fully up to code and operating effectively.

Before allowing any inspector to enter your business, require the individual to present government-issued identification and a business card. Local fire department officials all have badges, and their uniforms will clearly state their agency name. LAFD personnel are pleased to provide multiple ways for anyone to confirm their identity.

If you suspect suspicious activity or someone impersonating a Fire Department employee, contact law enforcement immediately and notify your local fire department.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department


Anonymous said...

Just had these guys try this scam in Hollywood. Calling them selves Department Fire Services, with a large DFS printed on back of navy blue uniform, same as fire department, just no badges, no name tags, and no LA in the name, but misleading with the rest of their name . Left in a Toyota Tundra License R8R CRS, I hope you arrest these scammers....

LAFD said...

Anonymous 1:02,

We appreciate you sharing your troubling experience, which highlights the pervasive nature of this scam. While we cannot attest to the vehicle description or license plate (and encourage our readers to take no direct action toward that vehicle), we kindly ask you to contact the Hollywood Community Police Station promptly at (213) 972-2971 to report your encounter.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

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