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The North Bay Disaster Fraud Task Force has received indications that contractor and/or construction fraud could be occurring in the North Bay Area, as part of the recovery efforts following the wildfire disaster. Contractor fraud involves illegal acts committed by unlicensed or unscrupulous contractors and includes performing substandard repairs, offering services that deliberately cheat a consumer, or contracting without a license. Contractors may also attempt to commit construction fraud, which includes knowingly obtaining money, property, or labor by false pretense.
Therefore, before signing a contract with a contractor for any wildfire-related repairs or rebuilding, consumers are encouraged to follow these guidelines:
It is a felony to contract without a license in a declared disaster area. Additionally, any person involved in a scheme to defraud a consumer of a residential or nonresidential structure in connection with the offer or performance of repairs to the structure for damage caused by a natural disaster could be ordered to make full restitution to the victim and/or pay a fine of up to $25,000 and could also be imprisoned.
If you believe you have been the victim of disaster-related contractor or construction fraud, please contact the FBI San Francisco Division at 415-553-7400 or https://tips.fbi.gov or the Contractors State License Board at800-321-2752 or www.cslb.ca.gov.