Restaurant operators and others in the food facility industry are advised to check the identification of health inspectors, following reports of an impostor calling eateries to notify them of pending inspections.
Sacramento County's Environmental Management Department reported a person using various names was calling up local food businesses and purporting to be a health inspector. The impostor announced an inspection was scheduled, usually for the next day, the county reported.
The impostor gave the business a phone number to call to verify the inspection, and in some cases a "confirmation number." But the inspector never arrived, and no county inspections had been scheduled.
County officials say other California counties and states have been targeted by similar scams.
"It's unclear how the scam works or if the impostor is attempting to get personal information from the operator for other fraudulent schemes," John Rogers, Sacramento County's environmental health chief, said in a written statement. "We urge owners and operators to contact our office if they have any doubt about the identity of a person claiming to be a health inspector."
Officials said food facility health inspections generally are announced and conducted by certified and trained registered environmental health specialists. Inspectors do not collect money at food establishments and do not sell or endorse specific products. State law also requires inspectors to carry official photo identification.
To report fraudulent activity, call the Environmental Management Department at (916) 875-8440.
- Cathy Locke