Fake health inspector phones Des Moines restaurant, talks to real inspector

There’s been a spate of health inspector scams preying on restaurants throughout the U.S. in the past five years. From handwashing signs for cash to extorting fake inspection fees, the fake inspector business has been booming.

WHO-TV reports a man calling a Des Moines restaurant pretending to be a state health inspector was interrupted when a real inspector got on the phone.

Emily Wegner says she was at the restaurant Wednesday when she heard a server yell into the kitchen that the state health department was on the phone. Wegner, whose job it is to inspect restaurants, says she got on the phone and told the caller that he was not an inspector and that she was.

The fake inspector wanted to schedule an appointment but asked for a deposit for the visit.

Wegner says the state does not charge for inspections.

Wegner says she got the caller’s information and reported the scam to police.