UPDATE 12:00 p.m. Wednesday, August 8, 2018 - The Shasta County District Attorney's Office has released information on scams involving fraudulently filed applications for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance.
They are working closely with the Napa and Sonoma County DA offices to learn of scams that were perpetrated in their communities following the fires in October of 2017 to ensure the same types of scams don't happen in Shasta County. They learned that residents from those communities in Sonoma and Napa counties had their personal identification information, including social security numbers, used to file fraudulent FEMA applications.
Some of those residents reported that they attempted to apply for FEMA assistance, only to find that someone had already applied under their name. Other residents, who had not filed applications for assistance, reported that FEMA-affiliated inspectors came to their homes to ask about their applications.
District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett issued this alert to make sure victims of the Carr Fire are information about this potential scam.
If an individual shows up to your home to conduct a FEMA inspection and you have not filed an application for assistance, FEMA requests that you immediately contact the Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General at (800) 323-8603 or online HERE.
Those filing an application that have found that someone has already used their name should call the Disaster Fraud Like at (866) 720-5721.
SHASTA COUNTY, Calif. - Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett is warning Carr Fire victims of disaster-related crimes such as contracting scams, price-gouging and looting.
Bridgett said that Sonoma, Napa and Ventura counties saw an influx of out-of-town contractors offering to do jobs at discounted prices to help fire victims. Many reportedly made off with people’s money without doing the jobs.
Bridgett urges victims to check online to make sure they are licensed contractors before giving them money up front. The District Attorney’s office is working diligently to identify people who are committing any type of fraud.
Additionally, illegal price gouging has been a prominent crime in the past few weeks with the District Attorney’s office receiving more than 60 complaints related to rental properties. Fifteen of those reports are now being actively investigated. In addition to rental properties, the office has also received reports of price-gouging on food and supplies, but have not been able to confirm any of those claims.
Those charged with price gouging are subject to criminal prosecution that can result in a one-year imprisonment in county jail and a fine of up to $10,000. Victims of price-gouging are encouraged to contact the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office as well as file a complaint with the State Attorney General. To file a complaint online click HERE, or call the State Attorney General's office at (800) 952-5225.
In addition to price gouging and contracting scams, the District Attorney’s Office is continuing to investigate increased reports of looting in areas affected by the Carr Fire. They have seen 15 cases so far.