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Local officials warn of fake inspectors

Man dresses in uniform, targets businesses with scam service

Posted: August 24, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 24, 2012 2:00 a.m.
 

Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station officials warned local businesses Thursday about bogus fire inspectors, noting a scammer struck in the valley this week.

A man dressed in a blue uniform with the words “Fire and Safety” printed on the clothing entered businesses on Wednesday and told employees he was there on the order of the landlord to inspect fire sprinklers, sheriff’s officials said in a statement issued Thursday.

The man used information secured from a conversation at one business to convince employees of a neighboring business to sign a form authorizing an inspection, the statement said.

The business owners likely will receive bills weeks later signed by unsuspecting employees and demanding payment for “work done” or “services rendered,” sheriff’s officials advised.

The same scam was being perpetrated on Santa Clarita Valley businesses last November, Sheriff’s Station officials said.

Then-Fire Department Capt. Mark Savage noted at the time that fire inspectors will never ask for signatures on documents or collect fees.

“These inspections are paid for by your tax dollars,” Savage said of Fire Department safety inspections of businesses. “We don’t collect anything.”

Business owners can help guard against this type of scam by:

n Paying attention to the “inspector’s” vehicle. Authentic inspectors will arrive in a government vehicle.

n Ask for ID and, if still suspicious, call the county Fire Department to verify an inspector’s ID at 323-881-2411.

Anyone who suspects he or she has been the victim of a fake inspection should call the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station at 661-255-1121.

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