Recent Health Inspector Scams Target Local Restaurants

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HONOLULU — The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) is warning restaurants about “fake” health inspectors, who may be trying illegally to obtain sensitive information about restaurant employers or employees.  Restaurants are urged to ask for proper identification, and call the DOH if they have any doubts.

The DOH Sanitation Branch offices on O‘ahu has received a number of reports that a male caller(s) has been contacting local restaurants claiming to be from the local Health Department investigating a complaint.  The caller stated that the DOH is investigating an outbreak or has received complaints regarding the establishment and would be coming at a later date or after hours to make an inspection.  Similar scams have occurred on the mainland in an effort to obtain sensitive information about employers/employees.


The DOH typically does not call a food establishment prior to a routine inspection or when investigating a complaint, and DOH health inspectors must always wear or display their DOH issued identification before entering an establishment.  Food establishments should make sure that anyone claiming to be a health inspector has proper DOH identification.  Only DOH sanitarians and food and drug inspectors enter food establishments to investigate health-related complaints or to make routine inspections.  If you have any questions regarding the identification of a sanitarian (health inspector) please call the Sanitation Branch at 586-8000, if the person claims to be a food and drug Inspector please call the DOH Food and Drug Branch at 586-4725.

PHONE NUMBERS for Neighbor Islands

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

Submitted by the Department of Health