Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Fake Fire Inspections: What to Watch Out For

Bison Fires list of Fake Fire Inspections

In recent years, the number of fake fire inspections have been on the rise.  All over Canada and North America, police and law enforcement professionals have been warning both residents and commercial businesses of the dangers of door-to-door fire inspection scam artists.

What Is a Fire Inspection Scam?

Fire inspection scams have been widely reported throughout the continent, scamming business and homeowners out of money while falsely providing fire safety assistance. These scam artists have been reported to travel between cities to provide fake fire inspections to their victims.

Scam artists have been known to deliver letters and visit private residences offering fire safety services. With the frequent occurrence of fire inspection scams, a large number of individuals and business owners have had their money taken and provided with a false sense of security. In previous cases of fire inspection scams, some residents received letters which stated that there were new regulations surrounding smoke detectors and carbon monoxide inspections. According to the scam artists, if an individual did not schedule an inspection, they would be fined under the Fire Protection and Prevention Act.

Sadly, fake fire inspections and scams continue to be prevalent, as they pray on business owners and homeowners who fear financial or criminal consequences and only want to keep themselves and their customers safe.

Often, these fake fire inspectors arrive with fake badges and uniforms, acting as a figure of authority. They have also found success in catching individuals off-guard, making easy targets out of employees and managers who may not know the proper fire safety inspection practices.

How Are Fake Fire Inspections Completed?

These scam artists complete fake fire inspections by prompting action over the phone, through a letter, or in person. Frequently, they will arrive in an unmarked vehicle, but have fake badges and uniforms, stating that they are from a local fire protection company or fire authority.

Upon arrival, the fake fire inspectors have been known to perform “inspections” which may include:

  • Placing stickers on fire safety equipment
  • Signing paperwork stating that fire safety equipment has been tested and approved
  • Evaluate the condition of sprinklers, fire exits, carbon monoxide alarms, and other fire safety necessities

Upon completing the “inspection,” scam artists usually present a handwritten receipt and ask for cash before they leave. In other cases, they may send an “invoice” which threatens collection agencies if the bill is not paid immediately. Sometimes, they may even try to sell, replace, and install fire safety equipment.

Signs of a Fake Fire Inspection to Watch Out For

To lower your risk of being a victim of a fake fire inspection, familiarize yourself with your local fire safety and inspection companies, and post the information of the fire service provider you work for near the fire safety equipment in your home or business.

If you have employees, state that drop-in fire inspections do not occur. To ensure safety, schedule your fire safety inspections in advance and communicate when it will occur to all team members. Any unannounced visit by a stranger or unfamiliar representative of a company should put employees on high-alert, especially if the individual is using intimidation or pressuring sales tactics.

Fire inspections are only legally carried out by your landlord (if leasing) or the local fire department. If a “private company” arrives to perform a fire inspection, do not let them into your place of business or home if you are not familiar with the company, or you are not expecting them. Professional fire safety companies do not show up unannounced, and are not ever sent by local fire departments to perform fire safety inspections.

If an individual shows up stating that they are from the local fire department for a fire safety inspection, always ask to see their photo ID and call your local fire or police department. These departments can confirm that they are authorized to carry out a fire safety inspection, and can alert the proper authorities and ensure your safety if they are not.

In both instances, an unmarked vehicle is a clear sign of a fire inspection scam artists, as both reputable private companies and local fire authorities will often have marked vehicles with the proper identification. If you suspect that you’ve been a victim of a fake fire inspection, immediately call your local law enforcement authorities

For professional, reputable fire safety equipment services, you can count on the experts at Bison Fire Protection. For service in Winnipeg, Brandon, Thompson, Kenora, Regina, and Saskatoon, call 866-441-3473 to schedule an appointment today or find us online.

Posted by Rob Read at 2:07 PM

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