Local Business Targeted by Fake Inspections

The San Miguel fire district is warning businesses to beware of two individuals conducting fake inspections and charging fees. After receiving reports from local businesses a warning has now been issued to all businesses: Be careful of crooks in firemen's clothing. On April 26 the San Miguel Fire District stated that they received three reports from businesses in the Rancho San Diego area. The businesses were visited by people performing fake fire inspections. Larsen stated, "In the past, we've heard of reports of this happening at smaller, minority-owned businesses," she said. "But now they are becoming much more brazen, and targeting larger chain stores." Some of the businesses targeted by the fake inspectors were Staples and Babylon Jewelry. Often times the representatives from the fire department would leave and invoice for the inspection that often cost several hundred dollars. The charges as well as the address and contact information for the company all proved to be false-phony. The manager] said that the man was walking through the store, taking notes, but not really asking any questions. After the inspection was done, he said that the store had problems with the fire extinguishers and with the height of the aisle partitions from the ceiling.

"He showed me an invoice, and none of the notes on the invoice alarmed me," [the manager] said. "He asked me to sign the invoice and I said I can't without him giving me a copy, which he would not do. That raised some suspicions in my mind. He said, 'They'll call you' and pointed to the letters on his shirt. Then he left in a Honda Civic, which made me think this was a total fraud."

Larsen commented that the district does not hire out private parties to perform the safety inspections. The proper professionals will always wear badges and have with them the proper identification. If you feel that you may have become a victim of a fraudulent fire inspection check with your company or the local fire department for ay scheduled inspection and always ask for proper identification.


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