Fayette County

Lexington health department warns about scam targeting restaurant employees

The Lexington-Fayette County Health Department is warning Central Kentucky food establishments of a recent scam targeting restaurants, a news release said Thursday.

An unidentified person claiming to be a health department employee recently called a Lexington restaurant and advised the manager to have employees go online to renew their food handler's certifications. An employee paid the requested $20 and received a fake permit. The Lexington Police Department has been notified of the scam, the news release said.

"The address given was very similar to the official health department website, which does offer online certification," Jessica Cobb, environmental health manager, said in the release. "If anyone receives a similar phone call, please contact the health department to verify the information and report any fraudulent calls to the police department."

The health department's environmental health office can be reached at (859) 231-9791. The health department's website is www.lexingtonhealthdepartment.org.

All health inspectors in Kentucky are required to carry proper photo identification signifying their relationship with federal, state or local health agencies; food establishments are encouraged to ask for proper identification from anyone representing themselves as a health inspector, the release said. If any doubt exists about the legitimacy of caller or a food inspector, facilities should call their local health department.