(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.