I'm A Salon Inspector, And I Take Cash

The deviousness of the criminal mind is unbounded, as can be seen from the latest alert from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

Someone is walking into the hair and nail salons of Houston, announcing himself as a state inspector, and then takes products or demands money for looking the other way at violations.

"He may even provide a receipt for the fake fines he collects," the TDLR says, which you have to admit is nice of the guy.

The TDLR's Steve Bruno tells Hair Balls that two or three places have been hit around town. He doesn't know how much money was involved, but he wants salons to know that inspectors generally have ID and don't ask for cash.

"We have had people offer cash when violations have been found, but we don't like that either," he says.

The man, described as a "short, clean-cut, heavy-set Hispanic male, approximately 40 years old," wears a business suit to carry out the part.

He must have his rap down pretty well, because he hasn't been caught. On the other hand, what are you going to do, call 911? "Help, there's a bogus salon inspector in the house!!"

It is serious business to the TDLR.

"TDLR will not allow unscrupulous people to take advantage of cosmetologists in Texas," says executive director William Kuntz in a statement. "This scam artist is impersonating a public official to steal from law-abiding citizens. Once he is apprehended, we will seek punishment to the fullest extent of the law."

What that would be will depend on the dollar figures involved.

TDLY inspectors do make unannounced visits to salons -- Bruno says a visit happens once very two years.

But the real inspectors have  a state ID, business card, and will be able to provide an official Proof of Inspection form.

Oh, and they don't ask for cash. At least they're not supposed to.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Richard Connelly
Contact: Richard Connelly