Health department warns of restaurant inspection scam

Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County on Wednesday issued a warning to restaurants of a credit-card scam from someone impersonating a restaurant inspector.

And it nearly worked at least once already.

The agency “has been notified by several local restaurants that a person is impersonating a Public Health official and contacting restaurants in an attempt to solicit credit card information,” according to a PHDMC release.

“The caller is claiming that there has been a complaint filed against the business, and that Public Health is requiring a fee to come out and do an inspection. The caller is then asking for the restaurant to provide credit card information over the phone.”

All restaurant and food-service inspections are free. The agency does not collect fees from restaurants for inspecting them, whether it’s a regularly scheduled inspection or an inspection that resulted from a complaint.

PHDMC spokesman Dan Suffoletto told this news outlet that his agency has received four reports from restaurants concerning the scam — “and one restaurant gave out their credit card information,” he said. Suffoletto declined to identify the restaurant.

“The restaurant also contacted us, and then they had the charges stopped after we told them it was not us who called them,” Suffoletto said.

“Our personnel will always have identification on their person,” the PHDMC release said. “If a restaurant in Montgomery County has any questions they should contact Public Health’s Office of Environmental Health at (937) 225-4460.”