Rehoboth Beach Business the Latest Target in Phone Scam - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Rehoboth Beach Business the Latest Target in Phone Scam

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REHOBOTH BEACH, Del.- Owners of a Rehoboth Beach restaurant said they were the latest target of a phone scam, which has impacted various Delmarva businesses.

Owners of "Big Sissies Bar and Grille" said that at around 6 p.m. Monday, they received a call at arounfrom somebody pretending to be from Delmarva Power. The caller then threatened to shut off the power if the restaurant didn't pay an overdue bill of $1,036. 

Delmarva Power said that this type of scam, which they call the "Green Dot Scam," has happened periodically throughout Delmarva.

Shift Manager Laura Baker said that she was the person to answer the phone. She said she was threatened by the company to pay up or else.  

"They said I needed to return the call by 7 o'clock or, 'We're going to turn off your power due to a past due bill,'" she said. 

Baker then informed co-owner Joseph Amato, who called the number back. 

"The gentleman on the phone answered the phone as Delmarva Power," he said. "And then I explained where I was calling from. He said, I was $1,036 past due. And I said that's impossible." 

Suspicious of this being a scam, Amato and his co-owner Rob Hicken did some undercover investigating. Hicken called the number once again as a separate homeowner. 

"The old person that I am, it's real easy for me to play that part," he said. "So I call back to Delmarva and I get the same gentleman. I say 'Can you help me. I seem to have misplaced my bill." 

In response, the person on the other line told Hicken that he has a bill for the same exact cost of $1,036. WBOC reached out to Delmarva Power which said this is part of a widespread scam, where they try to get business owners to make cash payments through Green Dot Cards. 

WBOC called the number, under the guise of a concerned homeowner, using a work cellphone. When the person on the other end didn't recognize the phone number, they abruptly hung up and ignored later calls. 

Delmarva Power said that the scam can be avoided in two main ways. First of all, the company urges people to ask for their account information when they receive a call from someone claiming to be from Delmarva Power. The spokesman for the company said that if the person on the other end of the line does not know the information, then the chances are that it's a scam. 

The company also urges people to hang up and dial customer service directly if they have any suspicions. That number can be reached at 1-800-375-7117. 

Hicken said the fact that someone is out there taking advantage of businesses is upsetting. 

"That's a shame," he said. "When I finished the conversation with him, I said, 'This is fraud. God bless you.'"

The scam calls were made from (302) 918-8262, a number which was still active as of Tuesday afternoon. The alleged scam artists can also be reached by 1-800-791-0206. Delmarva Power urges people to ignore calls from these numbers. 
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