Members of the Barry County Health Department Board of Trustees were warned of a scam targeting restaurants in southwest Missouri at their November meeting.
Health Department Administrator Roger Brock said that two restaurants in Barry County had been contacted by a person or persons representing themselves as members of the Missouri State Health Department, asking for inappropriate information.
"From what we understand, they are calling and saying that they have received a food service complaint on the facility and that three people will be there the following day to inspect the facility," Brock said. "They tell the restaurant owner that they need an identification number and someone will call them to provide it. They say they will then call back to get the identification number.
"We aren't sure what they are actually after at this point, because we are unaware of anyone who has suffered a loss due to this scam," Brock said.
Health Board Chairman John Starchman said that environmental department employees never request information such as Social Security numbers or employer identification numbers, and anyone requesting such information was not connected to the local health department.
Brock said that one restaurant owner recognized the telephone number appearing on his caller ID as being from California. The business owner notified the health department, and Brock, in turn, notified the Missouri Attorney General's Office in Jefferson City. The matter remains under investigation.
Starchman recommends any restaurant owner who may have given out information contact the Barry County Health Department at 417-847-2114 and the Attorney General's Office at 573-761-3321.