The St. Augustine Police Department is warning citizens and business owners about three different calls to local businesses.
A man is calling claiming to be with Florida Power and Light and trying to trick people into paying money they don't owe.
The caller Identifies himself as Steven Martinez, claiming to be a representative of FP&L. His number is 904-677-2019. He claims that the person's bill is past due and the power will be cut off within the next hour if they do not send money through Money Pack Cash Scratch Off from a local CVS, Walmart or Walgreens.
"A credible company like Florida Power and Light isn't going to call you and say, 'Hey, you owe us and we're cutting your power,'" St. Augustine police spokesman Mark Sampson said.
Fortunately, those businesses did not forward any money to this scam.
Raintree Restaurant, Athena Restaurant and Flavors are three restaurants in St. Augustine almost scammed out hundreds of dollars.
Jane McCutcheon, owner of Flavors, was almost a victim of the scam.
"He said, 'You have to go to Walgreens and get a money pack,'" McCutcheon said. "And instantly I was like, 'There is something wrong with this picture.'"
"This is the first one in a while, and then back to back to back like this is maybe something cranking up," Sampson said.
If you receive a call about your electric service you should initiate a call to FPL and verify that your account is in default. You should then report this to your local enforcement agency. This should also count toward other services you may receive at your home or business.
That's exactly what McCutcheon did.
"I don't know. I wasn't born yesterday. Thank God," McCutcheon said. "And that wasn't going to happen."
McCutcheon said the scammer called during the lunch rush, she thinks to catch her off guard.
"It's a scare tactic and it's really cruel, and I think he's preying on smaller businesses," she said.
McCutcheon said that earlier this year, one of her friends who owns a restaurant fell victim to a similar scam.
"Really beware of anybody calling you for a bill that you have to pay over the phone immediately," she said.
If you know anything about the scam, call Crime Stoppers at 888-277-TIPS.
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