Local Businesses Warned of Scam

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    Local businesses are being warned about a scam targeting restaurants and other small businesses in California, including San Diego County.

    A scam artist, claiming to be a health inspector, has called multiple restaurants across the state claiming there is a new procedure to arrange a health inspection, according to county officials.

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

    The scam artist allegedly asks the business owner to follow a procedure to get a special code to confirm the upcoming inspection. The business owner then receives a second call asking for the confirmation code.

    “Of course, there is no such inspection and no real inspector ever arrives,” said county spokesperson José A. Álvarez.

    The scam is thought to be part of a larger fraud scheme involving the set up of verified accounts with a national on-line auction service.

    “The purpose of the code request is to get the small business owner to provide false verification to the online auction service,” said Álvarez.

    The scammer then allegedly establishes a bogus on-line account to be used in other fraud schemes.

    The DEH wants to remind business owners how to protect themselves from these types of scams:

    • County DEH inspectors only conduct unannounced inspections. DEH never calls in advance to schedule this kind of inspection.
    • No new DEH inspection procedure has been developed. 
    • DEH staff and personnel from any legitimate governmental agency will always have proper photo identification. If you have any doubts about the authenticity of an inspector visiting your business, ask for identification.
    • Never give out personal or business identification information over the phone unless you are certain of the identity of the person calling.

    If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Environmental Health Specialist on duty at (858) 505-6900.