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News: 2013 Press Release

For Release: August 14, 2013
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Law enforcement agencies work together to provide Silver Fire victims with advice to avoid post-disaster schemes and scams

Banning, Calif. - Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones deployed fraud detectives and the Investigation Division's Disaster and Recovery Team (DART) to help educate residents about potential scams that target wildfire victims.The teams have coordinated with the Riverside County Sheriff and other allied agencies to assist residents by distributing fliers and booklets with tips to avoid scams, insurance fraud, and solicitations by unlicensed contractors and insurance adjusters.

"Our teams have dealt with disasters and know how overwhelming recovery can be for fire victims," said Insurance Commissioner Jones. "Taking time to speak with residents and answer individual questions about insurance, unlicensed contractors, and the scams that prey on homeowners can help calm nerves and head off potential rip-offs."

Department of Insurance fraud officers are canvassing the four affected neighborhoods in a door-to-door effort to speak directly with residents in Poppet Flats, Twin Pines, Snow Creek and lower Cabazon.In the next few weeks the department's Premium Fraud Task Force will focus its enforcement activities on preventing and identifying potential scams. The Department of Insurance advises residents to report any suspicious activity, including contractors and insurance adjusters that do not provide a current license, demand large deposits, or pressure them into signing contracts. Consumers should also call the department if they believe their insurer is not being responsive or handling their claim appropriately. Consumers are advised to contact the department's consumer services team toll-free number at (800) 927-4357.

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Media Notes:

The Fraud Division Detectives are providing "Don't get burned" pamphlets, "Consumers: Residential Property Claims Guide" and the "Home Inventory Guide" booklets that are also available online and through our Consumer Service Bureau.

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The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California, regulating the $123 billion insurance marketplace. In 2012 the California Department of Insurance received more than 160,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $64 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP. Out-of-state callers, please dial 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

If you are a member of the public wishing information, please visit our Consumer Services.

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