Scam Targets Pierce County Food Establishments
Several food establishment owners have contacted us about a phone scam. If someone calls your restaurant and demands cash, it’s not the Health Department. The scammers use a similar approach and target non- or limited-English speaking food establishments:
- Someone calls the restaurant and claims to be a customer with a food safety complaint. The customer threatens to report the restaurant to the Health Department.
- Later, a person who claims to be a health official calls the restaurant to demand cash for the violation. The bogus health official threatens to close the restaurant if the owners don’t pay.
The Health Department does not call food establishments for cash payments of violations. When a restaurant has a violation, we send invoices by mail.
If your food establishment receives a scam call, report it to the authorities:
- Tacoma Police Department—(253) 798-4721 or https://tacomasafe.org/.
- If outside the Tacoma city limits, call the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department—(253) 798-4721 or http://www.co.pierce.wa.us/index.aspx?NID=1944.
- Washington Attorney General’s Office—(800) 551-4636 or www.atg.wa.gov/FileAComplaint.aspx#Online.
- Federal Trade Commission—(877) FTC-HELP or www.ftc.gov/complaint.
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- Updated: 01/04/2019
- Updated: 01/03/2019
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