News / Vancouver

Vancouver firefighters warn businesses of fake inspector scam

Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services is warning the public that people posing as fire extinguisher inspectors are in fact thieves.

A Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services truck in Gastown.

Emily Jackson / Metro Order this photo

A Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services truck in Gastown.

A scam where thieves pose as fire extinguisher inspectors in order to get into businesses and steal valuables has resurfaced in Vancouver, according to a public warning from firefighters on Tuesday.

Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services issued the warning after thieves targeted a number of businesses on Cambie Street, according to the statement from VFRS spokesman Jonathan Gormick.

The individuals claim they’re conducting annual fire inspections and are authorized to access the premises without an escort when in fact they’re casing the establishments’ security systems and stealing valuables such as purses, wallets and cell phones. 

One thief stole a fire extinguisher and has been spotted carrying it as a prop into other businesses.

While VFRS does conduct annual inspections to ensure businesses comply with the B.C. Fire Code and the city’s fire bylaw, inspectors are in uniform at all times and always carrying City of Vancouver photo identification.

Businesses are asked to check identification if they suspect the legitimacy of a so-called inspector. Suspicious activity should be reported to police immediately.