Phony health inspector scam

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Someone claiming to be a health inspector has been calling local restaurants to tell them about a new procedure to arrange health inspections, but there is no new procedure and the call is part of a scam, county health officials said Friday.

The phony health inspector asks business owners to follow a procedure to get a special code to confirm the upcoming inspection, and then later calls back and asks for the confirmation code, said Jack Miller, director of San Diego County Department of Environmental Health.

But there is no inspection and no real inspector ever arrives, he said.

“A DEH inspector will never call a business to conduct an inspection,” Miller said. “There is no new DEH inspection procedure.”

Instead, county health officials said they believe the calls are part of a scheme to establish fake accounts with a national online auction service.

The scam artist is trying to use business owners to provide false verification to the online auction service, and then uses the account established with the business owner's verification to perpetrate other scams.

County health inspectors only conduct unannounced inspections and will never call in advance, Miller said.

Business owners can protect themselves by asking to see a photo identification of anyone claiming to represent a government agency, and should never give out personal or business identification information over the phone, he said.

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