Carr Fire Information


California’s price gouging law protects people impacted by an emergency from illegal price gouging on gas, food, housing, and other essential supplies.  I urge hotels/AirBNBs, gas stations, landlords, and other businesses operating in and around Shasta County to understand and comply with the law, and I encourage anyone who has been the victim of price gouging, or who has information regarding potential price gouging, to immediately file a complaint through my Office’s website or by calling the Consumer Protection Unit at 530-225-5391.   It would be most helpful if victims or witnesses could provide the District Attorney’s Office with emails, pictures, or other documentation showing the before and after prices.

California Penal Code Section 396 generally prohibits charging a price that exceeds, by more than 10 percent, the price of an item before a state or local declaration of emergency. This law applies to those who sell food, emergency supplies, medical supplies, building materials, and gasoline. The law also applies to repair or reconstruction services, emergency cleanup services, transportation, freight and storage services, hotel accommodations and rental housing.  The Governor declared a State of Emergency for Shasta County on July 28, 2018.

Violators of the price gouging statute are subject to criminal prosecution that can result in a one-year imprisonment in county jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000. Violators are also subject to civil enforcement actions including civil penalties of up to $5,000 per violation, injunctive relief and mandatory restitution.

Complaints can be made by downloading our Consumer Fraud Complaint Form, or by calling the Consumer Protection Unit at 530-225-5391.   It would be most helpful if victims or witnesses could provide the District Attorney’s Office with emails, pictures, or other documentation showing the before and after prices.

Disaster Relief and Charity Scams

With the damage and destruction our community is experiencing from the Carr Fire, District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett has issued a Consumer Alert urging Shasta County residents to be aware of potential con-artists who may exploit local individuals through a variety of scams.

Residents who have damage to their property, in an effort to get repairs done quickly, may unwittingly hire untrustworthy individuals to make the needed repairs.  The DA’s Office Consumer Protection Unit reminds consumers and business owners to be careful before hiring anyone and provides the following helpful tips: be cautious of unsolicited door-to-door repairpersons who promise major discounts for their work, verify a contractor’s license for any work over $500 (a license number on a business card may only be a business license number and not a licensed contractor number), insist on written contracts for repair services, ensure any down payment does not exceed 10% of the contract price or $1,000, whichever is less (unless a bond or approved bond equivalent is provided), and only pay for the services by check or credit card instead of cash.

Fraudsters may also prey on individuals by pretending to part of a government agency or insurance company that is offering special programs for assistance to victims. They will request personal information (bank account, social security number, etc) from unsuspecting victims and ultimately misuse that information.  Our office recommends calling the agency or insurance company directly to verify that such programs or assistance are genuine. 

Additionally, scam phone calls can also be common during natural disasters.  Opportunistic scammers will often make calls after natural disasters claiming to be from legitimate charities or even from a made-up charity, and seek donations to help victims of fire damage.  However, the caller will never actually donate the funds to those in need and may even use a donor’s personal information for identity theft purposes.  We recommend local residents be wary of such phone solicitations and only make contributions directly to a charity and not provide any personal or financial information unless you know the charity is reputable. 

Victim of these types of Disaster Relief Scams, or other scams, should contact and report to the Shasta County District Attorney’s Office Consumer Protection Unit at 530-225-5391. 

Contracting/Construction Fraud

As our community begins to rebuild, homeowners and businesses will need to rely upon the work of competent and licensed contractors. California law prohibits acting in the capacity of a contractor, including debris removal, unless licensed by the Contractors State Licensing Board (CSLB). This is not a general business license issued by the city or county, but a special license for contractors. By law, an unlicensed contractor may perform home improvement work only if the value of the project, including labor and materials, is less than $500. Any advertisement for contracting must include the contractor’s state license number or indicate that the contractor is not state licensed.

Contracting without a license is a misdemeanor. However, when such contracting occurs in connection with the offer of performance of repairs to a structure for damage caused by a natural disaster for which a state of emergency has been declared, it may be charged as a felony, punishable by up to three years imprisonment in county jail and a fine of up to $10,000. Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. declared a state of emergency covering Shasta County on July 26, 2018.

Consumers can find a variety of educational materials to help them through the rebuilding process in the Disaster Help Center on the CSLB website, The licensee status of a contractor can also be checked at that website. Consumers can also receive assistance by calling the CSLB Disaster Hotline at 800-962-1125. The line is open Monday-Friday from 8 am to 5 pm. CSLB encourages fire victims to watch their 22 minute video, “Rebuilding After a Natural Disaster” on their website under Disaster Help Center in the Media Room.


District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett warns Shasta County residents of scams involving fraudulently filed applications for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance. Our Consumer Protection Unit has been working closely with the Napa and Sonoma County DA Offices to learn of scams that were perpetrated in their communities after the fires in October 2017, to help ensure the same types of scams are not successful in Shasta County.  We learned that residents from those communities had their personal identifying information, including their social security numbers, used to file a fraudulent FEMA applications. Some of those residents reported that they attempted to apply for FEMA assistance, only to find that someone had already applied under their name. While other residents, who had not filed applications for assistance, reported that FEMA-affiliated inspectors came to their homes to ask about their applications.

District Attorney Bridgett issues this alert so our community members are well informed of this potential scam that may occur in our county.  Shasta County residents should be aware that FEMA will not send inspectors to your residence unless you have filed an application for assistance. FEMA inspectors will not collect personal identifying information or bank account information at your residence. This information will only be requested when a person fills out the application online or at a Local Assistance Center. All FEMA employees and contractors will have federally-issued photo identification badges, which you should request to see.

If an individual shows up at your home to conduct a FEMA inspection and you have not filed an application for assistance, FEMA requests that you immediately contact the Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General at (800) 323-8603 or If you attempt to file an application for assistance, but find that someone has already filed an application in your name, FEMA requests that you call the Disaster Fraud Line at (866) 720-5721. Contacting FEMA as soon as possible may prevent payment to the individual responsible for the fraud. You can find more information at

If you have been a victim of this scam, you may also be a victim of identity theft. You should take the following steps: report the crime to the police and ask the police to issue a police report of identity theft; report the fraud to the three major credit bureaus, Equifax at (800) 525-6285, Experian at (888) 397-3742, and TransUnion at (800) 680-7289; carefully review your credit reports for accounts you do not recognize or inquiries you did not authorize; and consider a credit monitoring service or a credit freeze for protection against new accounts being opened in your name. You can find more information on what to do if you suspect you are a victim of identity theft on the Attorney General’s website at