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The Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) are warning restaurant owners of a potential scam.
The LAPD and LACDPH have received numerous reports from restaurant owners in the Los Angeles area of telephone calls they have received from individuals claiming to be health inspectors. The individuals ask for personal information, including employees’ phone numbers, insisting they need the information for a future inspection.
Once the individual obtains the information requested, they provide the restaurant owners with an identification number, or pin number, and tell the owners that they will be visited by inspectors on a specific date and time for a formal inspection. However, on the planned date and time, no one shows up.
Legitimate LACDPH inspectors are required to introduce themselves to the owner or manager, they must always possess a county-issued photo identification card, and will provide a county-issued business card upon request. Inspectors also never accept payments for an inspection or any other services.
Owner and managers will be directed to the local Environmental Health Office, Environmental Health headquarters, or the County Treasurer Tax Collector for payment of any and all fees. Inspectors also do not charge money or fees for a county letter grade, hand washing signs, or other signage or equipment, and do not accept gifts or gratuities, including food or beverages, for any reason.
If a restaurateur receives a call from somebody claiming to be a health inspector, it is recommended that they contact the LACDPH. Never give out any personal or private information, and be sure to obtain a name and contact number for the caller. It has not been determined whether the intent is to use the information in an unlawful manner.
Report any information on the scams to the Bureau of District Surveillance and Enforcement for Public Health’s Environmental Health Program at (626)430-5200.
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