TULSA, OK – [December 14, 2017] – The Tulsa Health Department warns business owners of a credit card scam that has affected at least one local food establishment.
The owner of a local restaurant received a call from an individual who claimed to be a Tulsa Health Department inspector. The caller then stated the restaurant’s license to operate had expired, and requested a credit card number in order to renew the license. The incident was reported to the health department.
“Under no circumstances will a Tulsa Health Department employee ask for an operator’s credit card information over the phone,” said Environmental Public Health Division Chief Elizabeth Nutt. “Operators pay their license fees directly to the Oklahoma State Department of Health. If the food establishment is located within the city of Tulsa, Broken Arrow or Bixby, there is an additional city food license that is paid to the city directly.”
License fee payments for both city and state food licenses must be mailed to the respective entity by check or money order. Operators can visit the THD Food Protection Office for assistance with mailing payment to the appropriate licensing agency. THD will ensure that the payments are sent via certified mail.
Inspectors wear an official name badge with a photo and carry business cards when making in-person visits. Facility owners receive documentation of the status of their operating license and fees during regular inspections. When license renewals are coming due, inspectors will notify operators during inspections, field visits or phone calls – but no payment information is requested over the phone.
“We encourage food establishment owners and managers to call the Food Protection Services directly with any questions about their license and fees, or if there are any doubts about the legitimacy of a call or a food inspector,” said Nutt.
The food protection services division can be reached during regular business hours at 918-595-4300.
THD works to safeguard public health through education on safe food handling practices and the regulation of food service establishments. THD performs more than 11,000 inspections of approximately 3,500 food service establishments annually. In addition, approximately 500 food safety training classes are conducted each year to educate restaurant employees and other food employees on food safety.
About Tulsa Health Department
Since its establishment in 1950, the Tulsa Health Department serves as the primary public health agency to more than 600,000 Tulsa County residents, including 13 municipalities and four unincorporated areas. The agency is one of two autonomous local health departments in Oklahoma, with statutory public health jurisdiction throughout Tulsa County and the City of Tulsa. THD’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of all Tulsa County residents, in order to make Tulsa County the healthiest county in the country. THD was among the first health departments in the U.S. to receive national accreditation through the Public Health Accreditation Board. For more information, please visit www.tulsa-health.org.