NATIONAL CITY, Calif. - Authorities say fake fire inspectors are targeting businesses in National City. Normita Tulagan's hair salon was one of them.
"He came in and said he was from the [National City] fire department and he wanted to do a quick inspection," Tulagan said. "My husband said, 'OK, go ahead, because National City, once in awhile, they do that."
Tulagan said the inspection took about three minutes, and her husband signed paperwork showing the service was complete.
A few days later, a bill came in the mail from a company called First Protection Systems. Tulagan was charged $75.00 for the service, but the bills kept coming. So did threats.
"Almost every week I got a bill," she said. "One time I think they called and said they're going to ruin my credit."
National City Fire Marshal Robert Hernandez says the latest business to be targeted was Monday. He says his department collaborated with the National City Chamber of Commerce to send out letters warning about the scam to 600 businesses.
"[Our inspectors] will usually make every attempt to try to make an inspection over the phone before we get there and when we arrive, we'll obviously have a badge, we'll have a patch," Hernandez told 10News. "We also have identification cards and IDs in our wallet."
10News tracked down First Protection Systems, which is a company based in Los Angeles. No one from the company returned phone calls.
Tulagan said she was finally able to get through to a person representing the company. She told them she reported the incident to the National City Fire Department. Her bills were cleared, immediately.