Scam Alert: Businesses targeted by Fire Inspection Scam

May 29, 2014

BBB serving San Diego, Orange and Imperial Counties was recently notified of a scam circulating the East County business community.  The fire inspection scam, as its being called, is initiated by contractors who attempt to conduct unsolicited fire inspections.

The scammers or “contractors” running this scam have been showing up at local businesses notifying owners that they are from the Fire Department or that the Fire Department sent them to conduct an inspection.  The scammers then have been conducting a visual inspection of the space, later sending a bill to the business for the inspection; the amounts of the faux-bills vary, but tend to run into hundreds of dollars. 

BBB is warning business owners to exercise caution before signing any paperwork or sending payment to unsolicited contractors, especially in the wake of this documented scam.  To date, this scam has been noted in El Cajon, La Mesa and Lemon Grove, however all business owners are susceptible.

During an official inspection by the City or a Fire Department, any violations or corrections will be addressed in writing.  While some of the necessary changes can be made internally by company staff, some are more technical and may require the services of a state licensed contractor.  If there is a fee for an inspection made by either the City or a Fire Department, an invoice will come directly from the City’s Finance Department via mail.

If you have any reason to doubt that an inspection is not being conducted by official personnel, please call the City of El Cajon, Public Information office at 619-667-1355 to verify employment.

BBB serving San Diego, Orange and Imperial Counties would like the thank Heartland Fire & Rescue, the Identity Theft Resource Center, as well as the City of El Cajon for bringing this scam to our attention.  If you have any additional questions regarding this scam or potential others in your community, please do not hesitate to give us a call at 858-496-2131.