Iowa restaurants are being warned to watch for scam artists who claim they’re inspectors from the health department. At least five Iowa restaurants have been hit in the past several days in several areas of the state, including around Mason City, Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Harlan and Appanoose County in southeast Iowa.

The fake inspectors show bogus I-Ds and bully restaurant staff into giving up phone numbers and Social Security numbers. They also say they’ve found enough violations to close the restaurant down and suggest $250 could make the problem disappear.

Two convenience stores in Atlantic were contacted by fake inspectors last summer. Similar restaurant scams are reported in at least five other states.