KeepHealthCare.ORG – ‘Convincing’ fraudsters are targeting businesses in Essex selling food and alcohol
Fraudsters posing as council officers have been preying upon businesses in west Essex.
Bogus council officers claiming to be from the environmental health department have visited food outlets in the town demanding money for fake fines for breaching regulations.
Three have been reported to Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) so far, with the con artists particularly targeting Waltham Abbey.
Both EFDC and Uttlesford District Council (UDC) have also issued warnings about fake licensing officers visiting businesses elsewhere in Essex, issuing on-the-spot “fines” and asking for annual fee payments in cash.
An EFDC spokeswoman said: “These people are very convincing as they know how much your licence is and they also use the names of real licensing officers.
“Real environmental health officers and any of the council’s licensing or enforcement officers will be happy to let you see their badges to check their identity.”
Environmental health and licensing officers will never issue on-the-spot fines or take cash payments.
Business owners have been advised to check officers’ ID badges, which have a list of authorisations and a phone number on the reverse to check their identity.
The spokeswoman added: “Remember you are well within your rights to request to check their authorisations and be especially careful if they do not allow you to do this.”
Food businesses in Waltham Abbey who suspect they may have been visited by a bogus caller should contact the police and EFDC’s environmental health department on (01992) 564608 or [email protected]