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Schemes and Rip Offs: Old Phone Scam Back in the Valley - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Schemes and Rip Offs: Old Phone Scam Back in the Valley

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At least two local restaurants have been targeted in the last few weeks by a phone scam that police say we all need to worry about.

The premises is pretty simple:  the caller says they want to place a big food order and they have a credit card to pay for it.

But this catering caper could instead leave you out hundreds, even thousands of dollars without hearing a word from the person who took it.

Mike Bauer, owner of The Deuce Bar in Grill in Erskine, MN, got a call from the scammers this fall.

"We thought it was just a local wedding dance or something," Bauer said.

He was a little surprised to get an order for 150 grilled chicken salads.  Mainly because the kitchen at The Deuce has only been open a few months, and the event was 75 miles away in Alvarado.  But the person on the other end seemed like they were big fans.

"Gave us a credit card number, wanted us to run it right away," Bauer said.  "Gave us the security code, the whole nine yards."

Then Bauer got a real warning sign.  The caller wanted him to run the card for an extra $900 bucks and send the cash to a delivery service with a New York City address.

The other tip off, Mike was actually talking to an operator with the Telecommunications Relay Service; a nationwide system so people with hearing or speech issues can use the phone.

Lately scammers have been using it as a "middle man" trying to disguise their scheme.

While this version tries to rip off restaurants police say it can be easily altered to any type of business and the lessons learned apply to everyone.

Whether you're a restaurant or hardware store owner or just someone buying something off the Internet don't cash checks or charge a credit card over the amount of purchase.  And never send any "extra" money on to another business or person.

Fortunately for Bauer he caught on and when they called back to check on the order he called their bluff.

"The next I heard was the operator say, this gentleman would no longer like to talk to you and our conversation was over."

You probably guessed the scammers are using a stolen credit card or bad check and once the bank figures it out the businesses or person is usually the one who ends up paying for it.

If you do get one of these phone calls or offers just say no and report it to your local police department.

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