Health Inspector: Phone Scam Overview
This is a phone scam that specifically targets restaurants, so if you own or work in a restaurant be sure to keep an eye out for it. Depending on your state the health inspector will have different standards and things which they check for. One thing is universal though, a bad rating from the health inspector can mean the end of your business.
Knowing this scammers have begun to take advantage of restaurants around the country by calling and pretending to be health inspectors, asking that fines and bribes be paid to keep your restaurant in business.
How Does the Health Inspector Phone Scam Work?
You’ll receive a call from someone claiming to be from the health inspector’s office of your state or city. They will inform you that they have received multiple complaints about poor sanitation in your restaurant. They will claim that in order to avoid inspection and a negative rating you can pay a fine, or a bribe rather, to maintain your restaurant’s good standing.
The complaints that the caller refers to are always fake and so are the fines, however, you might not be thinking with a clear head when all of this news is dropped on you.
The scammer will make threats and say that your business will be closed down if word gets out about this negative feedback. They will demand that you pay by wire transfer or prepaid credit card.
How to Avoid This Scam
If you own or work in a restaurant you’ll know whether or not there have been actual complaints and you’ll should know that the health inspector will never call demanding money be paid or a bad rating will be given.
Keep these other things in mind when dealing with a call like this:
Don’t trust caller ID.
Even if the caller ID says that it’s the health inspector’s office calling be skeptical, it could be a spoofed number. Ask for specific information and that a formal letter be sent.
Don’t provide payment information or send wire transfers to a caller.
Whenever a caller asks for money to be transferred or else something bad will happen just hang up. This is blackmail and it’s illegal.
Always ask for proper identification.
In some cases it might not just be a call, but an actual person impersonating a health inspector will come to your restaurant and say that they are their for inspections. Always be sure to ask to see the inspector’s proper identification before the inspection begins.
How to Report This Scam
If your restaurant has been targeted by a fake health inspector be sure to report it to the actual health inspectors office, the FTC, and in our online phone book.
You can quickly help warn others and spread awareness about this scam and other phone scams by reporting phone numbers in our free caller ID app for iPhone or in our online reverse phone lookup website.