East County business owners warned of fire inspection scam

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Authorities warned East County business owners this week
to beware of a scam involving bogus fire inspections.

People identifying themselves as “contractors” have been showing up at
workplaces in El Cajon, La Mesa and Lemon Grove recently and claiming to have
been sent by a fire department for a safety-compliance check, according to
Heartland Fire & Rescue.

The imposters then perform “visual inspections” and leave, agency
spokeswoman Monica Zech said. The victims, often foreign-born merchants who
speak English as a second language, later receive bills demanding sums of up to
several hundred dollars.

Actual fire inspections in areas served by Heartland are conducted
either by the agency's uniformed personnel or by city employees in apparel with
municipal insignias.

“Heartland Fire & Rescue will not send a contractor to your place of
business,” Zech said. “If there is a fee for the inspection, an invoice will
come directly from the city finance department.”

Anyone wishing to verify the identity of someone claiming to be a fire
inspector in any of the three cities can call (619) 667-1355.

Categories: KUSI