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Scam Alert: Beware Of Phony Fire Inspectors

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The city's fire department is warning about a scam involving fake but official-looking "fire inspectors" who claim to be checking out fire safety systems on behalf of the Los Angeles Fire Department.The scam has been targeting business owners, according to a release from the fire department. It works like this: inspectors pressure unsuspecting employees to sign a form authorizing an "inspection" and weeks later, they receive a bill for the inspection and threaten serious penalties for not paying up.

The fire department says that while they do periodically inspect businesses, they don't charge a cent for routine inspections. The problem with these phony inspectors isn't just that they scam businesses—they're also giving businesses a false sense of security about their fire systems.

Here's how the fire department suggests you deal with someone you might suspect is trying to scam you:

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 clearly state their agency name. LAFD personnel are pleased to provide multiple ways for anyone to confirm their identity. If you suspect suspicious activity or someone impersonating a Fire Department employee, contact law enforcement immediately and notify your local fire department.