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
Led by Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara, the California Department of Insurance is the consumer protection agency for the nation's largest insurance marketplace and safeguards all of the state’s consumers by fairly regulating the insurance industry. Under the Commissioner’s direction, the Department uses its authority to protect Californians from insurance rates that are excessive, inadequate, or unfairly discriminatory, oversee insurer solvency to pay claims, set standards for agents and broker licensing, perform market conduct reviews of insurance companies, resolve consumer complaints, and investigate and prosecute insurance fraud. Consumers are urged to call 1-800-927-4357 with any questions or contact us at www.insurance.ca.gov via webform or online chat. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800-927-4357. Teletypewriter (TTY), please dial 800-482-4833.