Officials warn of scam artists targeting North Bay wildfire victims
News: 2017 Press Release
NAPA & SONOMA, Calif. — Investigators from the Department of Insurance (CDI), Contractors State License Board (CSLB) and the Napa County District Attorney's Office are hitting the streets again Friday, November 17 in the Napa and Santa Rosa burn areas to educate homeowners on how to avoid being scammed, as they work to recover and rebuild from one of the state's worst natural disasters."It never ceases to amaze me the extent to which con artists will go to score a quick buck by scamming disaster victims," said Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones."Outreach efforts with our partners at CSLB and the DA's office is a best first step in protecting consumers from rip-off schemes."
Officials have received reports of individuals posing as FEMA officials and approaching victims to obtain personal information. Fraudulent applications for assistance using wildfire victims' personal information have also been reported.
"There's no secret shortcut to get through what will be a long rebuilding process," said CSLB Registrar David Fogt. "It's critical that survivors take their time and do their homework before hiring anyone to work in or around their home or property, including debris removal, repairs, or rebuilding."
CSLB officials urge consumers to hire only licensed contractors and verify their license though the agency's website, which takes only moments on a smart device. The agency also provides a variety of resources for consumers to help them through the rebuilding process after a disaster.
Napa County District Attorney Allison Haley says,"It is our belief that by proactively educating homeowners on how to avoid being scammed, we arm our residents against criminals and dramatically reduce their vulnerability."
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- CSLB contact - Rick Lopes 916-255-4161 Office / 916-947-8828 Mobile
The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California. Insurers collect $289 billion in premiums annually in California. Since 2011 the California Department of Insurance received more than 1,000,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $394 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 or 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.