Public adjuster scams target wildfire victims
Good Samaritans often step up to help victims of wildfires and other disasters, but not everyone who offers aid does so for altruistic reasons.
Public adjuster scams occur when a public adjuster says an insurer won't pay the fair value of a property loss claim and offers to help — for a percentage of the amount paid. While public adjusters are legal in California, dishonest adjusters can take advantage of people in vulnerable situations by charging exorbitant fees, stealing personal information or referring them to a shoddy contractor for a kickback.
A public adjuster was sentenced last year to seven years in prison for embezzling $400,000 from Los Angeles County fire victims by cashing insurance claim checks that were meant to help rebuild homes.