Sunday, April 25, 2010

pic of fake DCRA inspector who shakes down residents for money

Recall the resident on U Street NW in Bloomingdale who recently reported getting scammed by a suspected imposter DCRA inspector?
See this post from the Mount Vernon Square Neighborhood Association list and the Shaw Neighborhood list about the fake DCRA inspector shaking down residents.

A city agency is warning homeowners about a con artist with an inventive, albeit illegal, scam.

The grifter claims to be an inspector for the D.C. Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), the agency that handles building permits, housing codes, trash complaints and a plethora of other issues.

Here’s how the scam works: The guy approaches homes under construction, posing as a DCRA inspector. He tells the homeowner or construction crew that they could be fined for debris, garbage or other matters concerning the property. He pretends to call “headquarters,” then comes back to the victims and says he will have to fine them. The impostor then offers to forget the whole matter – for a little cash.

There have been three cases – that authorities know of – in the past 18 months. The bogus inspector hit most recently Monday afternoon in the 100 block of U Street NW. DCRA officials said their inspectors carry badges, and residents approached by anyone claiming to be an inspector should ask to see a DCRA badge. Any doubts – call the police.

First Published: Apr 22, 2010 10:06 AM ED


Scott Roberts of Bloomingdale said...

Here are some comments on this topic posted at the MPD-5D list.

This first comment is from Fifth District Commander Lamar Greene:

Anytime someone presents themself as an inspector or government official at your home and you question their legitimacy, please call MPD immediately. There are no citations that can be paid in cash at your door step that i am aware. Therefore a demand for a cash payment should be a sign to immediately call MPD to stop this individual and verify their identity. i will also ask DCRA to supply a list of what enforcement reps carry badges.

And this comment is from Bloomingdale resident Sara:

The posting is correct that DCRA inspectors have badges. An inspector came to my home on a scheduled inspection, and had it presented when I came to the door.

Scott Roberts of Bloomingdale said...

Attention, U Street NW resident who originally reported the fake DCRA inspector! I must apologize -- I don't recall who you are since I deleted your Emails. But now a TV reporter is eager to speak with you. His name is Sam Ford from News Channel 8. His contact phone number is 202 - 345 - 1941.

Bloomingdale Resident said...

I saw this guy on Sunday while I was waiting outside of Big Bear! I had no idea what to do. He was walking from R and turned north onto 1st. He must live in the area. It was quite early - 9ish.