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Scam Impacts Local Restaurant Owners

January 20, 2011

Tacoma-Pierce County, WA ? Operators of some restaurants in Pierce County have received threatening telephone calls from a person falsely claiming to represent Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department. The Health Department is responsible for health and food safety inspections of food establishments in the county. The food business operators began reporting the calls to the Health Department the week of January 17, 2011.

Typically, the caller requested personal information and home phone numbers of key personnel at the restaurant.

"Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has worked closely with restaurants to ensure that food is safe," said Steve Marek, Director of Environmental Health. "Our food inspectors are thorough, but they do not ask for personal information nor do they call in advance of inspections."

Owners of food establishments who receive a call asking for personal information or threatening fines is asked to contact Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department at (253) 798-6464. Fraudulent telephone calls should also be reported to the Federal Trade Commission: 877-382-4357, or http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/phonefraud/index.shtml

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