Kevin W. Kobza, Sergeant/PIO
1 Bryant St.
Fairhaven, MA 02719
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017
Contact: John Guilfoil
Fairhaven Police Issue Warning About Telephone Scam Targeting Restaurants
FAIRHAVEN — Sgt. Kevin W. Kobza is warning business owners about a recent telephone scam targeting Fairhaven restaurants.
An unknown person has called restaurants claiming they owe thousands of dollars to Eversource, and that the electricity to the business will be shut off within the next five minutes if the issue is not immediately resolved. The scammer typically calls during a restaurant’s busy period.
The caller demands that a restaurant owner go purchase prepaid debit cards and load them with thousands of dollars and then read the card and PIN numbers back to them over the phone.
“This individual is calling during a restaurant’s busiest times in order to try and catch the person who answers the phone off-guard,” Sgt. Kobza said. “The person answering the phone may not know about the restaurant’s electric bill situation, only that if the power is shut off they will have to shut down.”
The most recent incident happened on Thursday, Nov. 9, when the owner of the Phoenix Restaurant, 140 Huttleston Ave., received a fraudulent request for money. The owner recognized the call after being a victim of the same scam last year and called the police. The owner did not lose any money.
Three other Fairhaven restaurants received similar calls last year and were victims of the scam.
“A utility company would never call a business with such an immediate and threatening ultimatum,” Sgt. Kobza said. “If you get a call you believe could be a scam, check your utility bill and call the number printed on the bill to verify any collection calls. The only way scammers can get anything from you, is if you give it to them. So don’t.”
Sgt. Kobza also asks that business owners who sell prepaid debit cards be on the lookout for customers who may be being scammed.
“If you see someone who is putting thousands of dollars onto a prepaid debit card or buying them in bulk, ask them what it is for and let them know that someone could be taking advantage of them,” Sgt. Kobza said.
Anyone who believes they could be a victim of similar phone scam should call the Fairhaven Police at 508-997-7421.