In the past year, DeKalb County fire officials said they've seen about 60 cases of stores that were scammed out of money by people claiming to be fire inspectors.
William Greene, an actual DeKalb County fire inspector, said the fake inspectors go into stores and say they are doing a fire inspection for $50, or ask for a donation to the fire department.
"The person has told them if they don't donate they won't receive a response from the fire department if they have an emergency at the location," Greene said.
Greene said that isn't actually true, and that there may be as many as a dozen different people involved in the scam. He said most of the shops being scammed are along Buford Highway, and almost all of them are run by immigrants.
Mari Soriano runs a restaurant off of Buford Highway's Fiesta Plaza and has been scammed three times.
"He wore a shirt saying DeKalb firefighters and he had a bunch of stickers," Soriano said.
Her store has three of the stickers on its door, showing how many times she's been hit.
"They are taking advantage of people that don't know the laws and don't know English," she said.
Greene said actual fire inspectors will wear uniforms, have badges and county identification. They will drive marked county vehicles and will not cash for an inspection. He said if anyone feels that a fake inspector is at their business, they should call police immediately.
Greene also said that anyone who feels they might have been scammed in the past should call The DeKalb County Fire Marshal Office at 404-371-9256.
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