Bar and restaurant owners, beware.

Pinal County’s Environmental Health Department is warning of people impersonating inspectors and making threatening phone calls in attempts to extort money out of them to keep their businesses open.

Owners of dining establishments are encouraged to be on guard if they receive such a phone call or a visit from someone who claims they are an inspector.

In a statement issued by the Pinal County Environmental Health Department, department director Reg Glos said: “We do not announce our inspections, all of our inspectors carry identification and in no case would we threaten to shut down a restaurant over the phone. This appears to be a scam, and according to my colleagues in other jurisdictions, it is not unique to Pinal County. So far, we have received enough calls about this to merit an advisory to food service establishments in Pinal County.”

Pinal County Environmental Health ensures public health and safety at public and semi-public pools and hotels and motels through regular, proactive inspections.  In addition, Environmental Health is in charge of permitting for septic tanks and surveillance for the West Nile virus, a mosquito-borne disease.

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