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Fake ‘health officials’ target Cape Town restaurants in bid to score free meals

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Scam artists masquerading as health department officials are targeting restaurants in Cape Town hoping to eat a free meal.

The city’s health department warned on Monday that “fake officials” were attempting to force businesses to renew their health certification, claiming that a certificate of acceptability (COA) issued to a business preparing food expires every two years.

“Criminals are finding more inventive ways to scam people out of their money and scoring free meals. Not only is this fraudulent and illegal behaviour, but many restaurants are still recovering from lockdown and can ill afford to be scammed in this manner,” said mayoral committee member for community services and health Patricia van der Ross.

City health was aware of three attempts to pull off the scam in Kalk Bay, Muizenberg and Bergvliet. “In all three cases, the local environmental health practitioners (EHPs) who service the areas are well known and the business owners showed the criminals the door and reported the matter to the city,” the city said.

No charge is associated with processing or issuing the certificate.

“We encourage anyone who has been conned or threatened in this manner to please report it to the police and provide as much information as possible so those responsible can be brought to book,” said Van Der Ross.

“If you’re approached or anyone visits your premises and demands payment or any type of reward for any type of inspection or documentation, insist on checking their credentials and verifying their story with the local environmental health office.”

Source: TimesLIVE

Photo: Pixabay


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