As NBC4 reported on August 19, scammers are using advanced technology to target restaurant owners.
In a typical scam, a caller contacts the business claiming to represent a local utility company and says the business is late on its payments. The caller threatens to turn off the business’ power unless it makes an immediate payment via a prepaid money card.
Back in 2013, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said restaurants have been targeted by utility scams, where callers threaten to shut off the restaurant’s power unless it provides immediate payment.
In January, a Dayton-area restaurant owner took his complaint to News9 in Dayton.
Angelo Marsili, owner of Marsili's Family Restaurant in Dillonvale said he got a call from someone claiming to be a representative of AEP Ohio.
"This guy said I had to go to a Dollar General store, and get four $200 money gram express cards," said Marsili.
AEP Ohio urges customers to recognize and report scams, and to keep these tips in mind:
- AEP will never demand immediate payment with prepaid debit cards or threaten to shut off your power if that payment isn't made.
- AEP Ohio will never call or email to ask for personal or financial information.
- Only make payments to authorized AEP Ohio agents or through options listed on AEPOhio.com.
- Told your account is past due? Verify your account's status online at AEPOhio.com.
- AEP employees always are willing to show their company ID. Make sure you ask for ID.
Businesses or consumers who suspect a scam or unfair business practice should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office by clicking here.