The owner of a local Toronto bar is warning other small businesses of a potential scam after having a weird experience.
Alison Barrie of Grand Trunk in Parkdale posted about the experience to a Facebook neighbourhood group on Thursday, initially unsure what was happening.
“Hi neighbours and fellow business owners. There’s 2 people going around saying they are fire safety inspectors. They were intimidating and made me pay on the spot,” she wrote.
“Usually this is done through the landlord but I just spoke to him and he had no knowledge of this. The address is listed as an apartment building. I’m out $40 but maybe this warning will help someone else. Or maybe it’s legit. I don’t know, just a heads up.”
She accompanied the post with photos of some relatively official-looking paperwork, but something still didn’t feel right and later on Barrie made updates to the post.
The updates were that she spoke to the police and the fire department, with the fire department saying this is not a usual type of inspection.
“While we were waiting on the police my coworker and I called the number on the invoice. It went to a cell phone of the ‘inspectors’ who answered and got agressive saying they have been doing this for years and it’s legit. We said ok no problem, we have called the police and they are on their way to investigate.
“The guy on the line said ok what business are you we will come refund your money. The police arrived JUST as they were walking back towards us. Police interviewed them. They do have a business license on their clipboard but did not seem legit. Cops got my money back and gave me a Fraud case number so they can follow up with me later.”
Around 20 comments on the post from local people all agreeing with Barrie that this was a scam, with some people offering advice and others saying they’re sorry it happened.
Barrie posted a photo of their business/assessment card that reads The Safety Team with a fire extinguisher logo, and she says the logo is on their jackets as well.