SPOKANE, Wash. – The Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) announced today that several Spokane-area 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 provided the restaurant with a numeric confirmation code for use in a subsequent phone call. The second caller, claiming to be a health inspector, requests the code and seeks to set up an in-person inspection. According to the Washington state attorney general's office, the scheme is part of a larger fraud involving the creation of "verified" accounts with a national online auction service. Other restaurants in Washington state, as well as across the nation and in Canada, have also been targets of the scam.

SRHD is reminding area restaurants and consumers that public health inspectors do not typically announce their visits and is encouraging anyone that receives a call of this nature to not participate. SRHD inspectors are also required to carry and display official photo identification.

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 – Thursday, between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. 

More information, including the consumer alert issued by the attorney general's office, can be found on their website by clicking here.

SRHD's website www.srhd.org offers comprehensive, updated information on public health, as well as links to other reliable information sources.