Tuesday, April 20, 2010

fraudulent DCRA inspector stops by

 (image via twitpic provided in comments)

See this 4/19/2010 message received by your blog moderator:

I'm new to the neighborhood - my boyfriend and I are renovating a house on U Street NW near North Capital and should be moving in at the end of the month. I was at the house today meeting with the alarm installer and had an unpleasant incident that I thought you might want to share with your readers. As I was talking to the alarm guy, another man walked right into the house saying he was a code inspector and the trash (from construction) in the front yard was in violation and the neighbors had been complaining. It hit a nerve because i knew the trash was an issue and we had been trying to get the contractor to get it cleaned up asap.
In retrospect, I'm pretty sure the guy was a fraud.
He talked to the workers and got their assurance that the trash would be moved the next day and said that he would cancel the fine and violation but then kept dropping hints that i should buy him dinner or lunch. I was so flustered because he walked right in, seemed to talk the talk (threatened to issue a stop work order) and I have had minimal dealings with the contractors and the work, I'm not knowledgeable about that sort of thing and it's rare that I'm on the job site (myboyfriend is the architect for the project). I finally gave him a $20 - and it's rare that i actually have cash. He had some sort of id around his neck, but i didn't get a good look at it and i asked for a card (after i gave him the $20) but he said he didn't have one on him. That's when i knew i'd been scammed.
I can give an accurate description of the man - I spoke with him for about 15 minutes – if that would be helpful. I considered calling the police, but also figured that it would be a waste of their time. A friend of mine regularly reads your emails and said there had been incidents of fraud and contractors being robbed, so I thought I might share my story in case it helped others avoid a similar situation.


Genevieve said...

You can follow DCRA on Twitter and follow up with them to see if this guy was legit. They'll get right back to you, very responsive. @DCRA

Mike Rupert said...

Please email me immediately at michael.rupert (at) dc.gov so I can give you my number. These folks pop up from time to time and will not be tolerated. Any information you can provide would be extremely helpful. - Mike, DCRA

Mike Rupert, DCRA said...

We spoke with original poster who provided great information. A reminder to all residents, ask to see inspector's badge and government ID - all real inspectors will have and will not be offended to show it.

We believe this fake inspector is the same man who appeared nearly a year ago in same area. Here is a picture: http://twitpic.com/1h3ijw Please call 911 immediately if this man comes to your home or construction site.

We are working with MPD to locate this person. If you have been contacted by him or any other suspicious inspector recently, do not hesitate to email me at anytime. Thank you all for bringing this to our attention. - Mike, DCRA

david said...

I had this happen to me about 5 years ago....the guy called me at work when I was having a fence installed. He started yelling about buying him "lunch" the next day because everything was illegal. I am architect and review codes/deal with DCRA on a daily basis so I asked the guy which department he worked in. Then I asked what part of the code we were violating....

His response, "I am not in the office so I can't tell you that". I never heard from him again.