Farmington businesses focus of prepaid card scam

Created: 04/17/2014 5:19 PM
By: Devin Neeley, KOB Eyewitness News 4

It's the call no one wants to get.

“They are going to shut the electricity down!”

And in the middle of the lunch rush, the scammers struck.

“It got our attention, in a restaurant you need electricity obviously and it is a little frightening,” said Mario Bernadone, owner of Bernadone’s Family Pizzeria.

At first Bernadone took a call demanding money for a late electric bill seriously.      

“I called the city of Farmington and asked if my bill was up to date,  they said yes, no problem,” Bernadone told KOB Eyewitness News 4, “I started to think there was something funny about this.”

Especially for someone who has never missed a payment.

“No, sir, we are up to speed!” he chuckled.

Farmington Police and the Farmington Electric Utility report that the majority of scam targets are businesses and the scammers want the money on a pre-paid credit card.

“The City of Farmington isn't going to call and demand payment in such a manner,” Said Georgette Allen, Public Information Officer for the Farmington Police Department.

And Bernadone says it just takes a little street smarts to be just a target, not a victim of a scam.

“Ask a lot of questions,” is his advice, “you want to give everybody the benefit of the doubt but the same time there are a lot of people lurking out there trying to make a living the wrong way.”

And to the scammers, he said,

“Take us off our list immediately! Don't mess with us, we are going to fight back!”

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