Phony Health Inspectors Striking Again

Phony Health Inspectors Striking Again

Oct 29, 2010

Phony Health Inspectors Again Targeting Area Restaurants


SPOKANE, Wash. - Oct 29, 2010 - Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) announced today that several Spokane-area Chinese restaurants were recent targets of a scam involving a series of phone calls from individuals posing as health inspectors.

The calls varied in nature, but generally the caller instructed the restaurant employee to hang up and dial a separate number to schedule a health inspection. The caller also provided the restaurant with a numeric code for use during scheduling. In reality, this is part of a larger scheme involving the authorization of fraudulent accounts with a national online auction service.

SRHD is reminding all area restaurant owners, managers and employees that receive a call of this nature to not participate. Public health inspectors do not typically announce their visits. SRHD inspectors are also required to carry and display official photo identification.   

In July of this year, the Washington state attorney general’s office warned of similar scams that spread throughout Washington state and Canada. Business owners who believe they may have been victims of this scam should file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov. Local questions can be directed to SRHD’s Environmental Public Health office at (509) 324-1560, ext. 2. The office is open Monday – Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

To read the consumer alert issued by the attorney general's office in July, click here. SRHD’s website www.srhd.org also offers comprehensive, updated information on public health, as well as links to other reliable information sources.