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LADA Consumer Alert Los Angeles County

Phony Fire Inspectors

Steve Cooley, District Attorney
County of Los Angeles

District Attorney Steve Cooley advises business owners and employees to be on the lookout for phony “fire inspectors.”

Businesses throughout Los Angeles County and across the state have been targeted by scam artists who wear official-looking blue shirts and pants and claim they are there to “inspect” the fire extinguishers, smoke alarms or sprinkler systems. They ask an unsuspecting employee to sign a form authorizing the inspection. Weeks or months later, a bill comes to the business’s owner for “work done” or “services rendered.”  The bill, sometimes for an “annual inspection,” appears to have been signed by the employee.

The District Attorney wants area businesses to know that while local fire department officials do conduct such inspections, they do not charge fees. 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 state the department for which they work.

If you suspect suspicious activity, contact law enforcement, your municipal fire department or the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Public Affairs Section at (323) 881-2411.

November 17, 2011

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