Health Inspector Scams Target Asian Restaurants

February 4, 2011, 7:49 AM HST
* Updated February 4, 7:50 AM
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By Wendy Osher

The state Health Department  is warning restaurant owners of a scam in which people posting as health inspectors attempt to illegally obtain sensitive information. Department officials say they received more than a dozen calls yesterday from Asian restaurants reporting “fake” inspectors.

Similar scams have been reported on the mainland. Officials from the state Department of Health (DOH) believe the scam is aimed at obtaining information about employers and/or employees.

Restaurant owners are urged to ask for proper identification, and call the DOH if they have any doubts.

PHONE NUMBERS for Neighbor Islands

  • Maui District Health 984-8230
  • Hilo District Health Office 933-0917
  • Kona District Health Office 322-1507
  • Kaua‘i District Health Office 241-3323

DOH inspectors will always wear or display their identification before entering an establishment.  The DOH does not typically call a food establishment prior to routine inspections or when investigating complaints.


Complaints and inspections are conducted by DOH sanitarians and food and drug inspectors only.

Questions regarding the identification of a sanitarian (health inspector) can be directed to the Sanitation Branch at 586-8000.  If the person claims to be a food and drug inspector, inquiries can be made to the DOH Food and Drug Branch at 586-4725.

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