DC Warns of Impostor Inspector

Scammer encourages bribes

By Sharon Donnell
|  Thursday, Apr 22, 2010  |  Updated 4:16 PM EDT
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DC Warns of Impostor Inspector

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.

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