LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Criminals posing as fire inspectors may target Los Angeles County business owners in a scam reportedly occurring throughout California.

The “inspectors” trick employees into signing documents that are used to bill the business owner, Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley said.

The scam artists have been spotted wearing official-looking blue shirts and pants and claim they are at a business to “inspect” the fire extinguishers, smoke alarms or sprinkler systems.

Unwitting employees are then asked to sign off on an authorization for the inspection, which is then later used to bill the business owner for “services rendered”.

Cooley noted that local fire departments conduct such inspections, and they don’t charge fees.

Anyone who suspects they are being scammed should call their local fire department or sheriff’s department, or the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Public Affairs Section, (323) 881-2411.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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