Phone Scam Almost Costs Bar Owner Big Bucks - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Phone Scam Almost Costs Bar Owner Big Bucks

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We've been hearing more and more about phone scams lately from magazine sales, to home improvements to energy company calls.  It's something the Better Business Bureau and Attorneys General warn consumers about on a regular basis.

"People do make mistakes.  I could have forgot to pay a bill that's why if I owe the money I'll pay it," said the owner of the River City Brewing Company in Clinton.  

The bar owner doesn't want his name revealed, but said he took a suspicious call last week.

"The guy sounded really professional like the utility company," said the owner.  

But that call almost cost him a lot of money. He says the caller demanded $997.83.  The caller told him that if he doesn't pay up, his power would be shut off in the next half hour and even mentioned that a disconnection truck had already been dispatched to the area.

"How come I didn't receive any disconnection notices? He said 'well our computers went down and that way, we couldn't send it out'," said the owner.

The bar owner said he'd head down to Hy-Vee and pay the bill, but what the caller said next was a red flag.

"If you hurry up and pay this right away, next month you'll get a 40 percent discount on your utility bill and I know utility company's don't do that," said the owner. "He goes, 'you need to go to Circle K and get a Green Dot card and send me the confirmation that way I can take care of this for you'."

The caller notified police and filed a report, but police say there's nothing they can do about it.   

"He did trace down the call. It came from New Jersey and it was a hospice line," the owner said.

This situation taught not only the bar owner valuable lessons, but his staff too.

"They try to scam everybody. You hear about it on the news all the time so you've really got to beware," River City Brewing employee Cheryl Ozee said.  

We reached out to the number that contacted the bar owner and no one answered.  We did later get a call back from the number. The caller told TV 6 that they can only accept payment through the green dot card. The bar owner says he called the power company and representatives  told him they'd never shut off a customers power in just 30 minutes.  If you are contacted, never give out any personal information or credit card numbers over the phone.

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