Fire victims should beware of scams as they rebuild

VENTURA, Calif. – The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office is warning that Thomas Fire victims may be targeted by unscrupulous opportunists as they attempt to rebuild and recover from the fire.

The Thomas Fire drew both national and international attention because of the tragic loss of life and the magnitude of the property damage. The fire damaged or destroyed hundreds of homes throughout several communities in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.

As the threat of fire subsides, the move toward recovery and rebuilding becomes the focus of local government as well as those who suffered a loss to their property. During this phase the Sheriff’s Office wants to warn residents of scammers that might target them. Some companies use legitimate looking websites, such as www.firerecoverysummit.org, with a misleading list of endorsements including the Red Cross, Cal Fire, and FEMA to gain the public’s trust. We urge residents to properly research contractors or any other vendors they are considering hiring, including demanding written support from the groups they claim are endorsing them.

Local residents can get trustworthy and official information about resources through www.venturacountyrecovers.org.

The Sheriff’s Office urges residents to use licensed and insured contractors. A contractor’s license status can be checked through the California Department of Consumer Affairs Contractors State License Board (CSLB). More information about CSLB can be found at www.cslb.ca.gov.

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