Watch Out for Fake Health Inspector Targeting Los Angeles Restaurants

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Local restauranteurs are warned to beware of a person or person who are impersonating Los Angeles County health inspectors. Photo by Chotda

Following reports that a man is impersonating a health inspector to local restaurant owners, Supervisor Knabe is urging business owners to verify the identity of health inspectors when in doubt.

“Health inspections are a critical service that the County’ provides restaurant owners and mobile food vendors, and their patrons,” said Supervisor Knabe. “It is important for the public to be aware of and report any suspicious activity by someone who may be an impostor and threatening the integrity of the County Health Department.”

The LAPD and LACDPH have received numerous calls from restaurant owners in the Los Angeles area of telephone calls they have received from individuals claiming to be health inspectors.  These 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 visited by inspectors on a specific date and time for a formal inspection.  However, on the planned date and time no one shows up.

Restaurant owners and managers should be aware of certain criteria which will help them know if they are dealing with a legitimate LACDPH inspector:

  • Los Angeles County Health Inspectors should always present a County-issued photo identification card and present a business card upon request.
  • Inspectors should never accept payment for an inspection. They will always direct the operator to the local Environmental Health Office, Environmental Health headquarters, or the County Treasurer Tax Collector for payment of any and all fees.
  • Inspectors do not charge money or fees for a County Letter Grade, hand washing signs, or other signage or equipment.
  • Inspectors do not accept gifts or gratuities, including food or beverage, for any reason.

Should a restaurateur receive a call from somebody claiming to be a health inspector, the LAPD and the LACDPH recommend that they contact the LACDPH; do not give out any personal, private or secure information, and be sure to obtain a name and contact number for the caller. At this time purpose of the calls, and whether the intent is to use the information in an unlawful manner, have not been confirmed.

If you come into contact with an imposter, you are encouraged to call your local law enforcement agency or local health department. The Bureau of District Surveillance and Enforcement for Public Health’s Environmental Health Program can be reached at (626) 430-5200. Health officials who answer will be able to confirm whether the person is, in fact, a legitimate health inspector.

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