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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 28, 2010

DHEC shares fraudulent phone call warning with restaurants

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina restaurant owners and operators should be wary of callers who misrepresent themselves as health department inspectors and ask for private or secure information, the state Department of Health and Environmental Control advised today.

“Restaurant inspections are unannounced and always conducted by a readily identifiable DHEC inspector,” said Sandra Craig, director of DHEC’s Division of Food Protection. “There are no ‘security codes’ given by phone call or demanded by DHEC inspectors when they visit.”

Craig said recent fraudulent calls made to restaurants in several counties include the caller attempting to schedule a DHEC inspection and providing the restaurant with a security code or confirmation number.

Restaurant owners and operators are advised to immediately report fraudulent calls to local law enforcement.

Other ways to reduce your risk of fraud include:

  • Write down the phone number of the person calling you, his/her name and organization’s name.
  • Note any phone number that might show up on your Caller I.D. and write that down.
  • Hang up and call the number they provided, or compare it to a legitimate source.
  • If it appears legitimate, verify it by calling the DHEC County Public Health Department using the phone book, Internet or other legitimate, recognized listing, not the number the caller provided.
  • Confirm the details of the call with staff.
  • Never give your social security, bank routing numbers or other private information to anyone who calls you.

A list of phone numbers for DHEC’s environmental health offices is available on the agency’s website at: http://www.scdhec.gov/environment/envhealth, click on “County Environmental Health Offices.”

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For more information:
Adam Myrick – (803) 898-3884
E-mail – myrickar@dhec.sc.gov
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