EXETER BOROUGH, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A warning for business owners across the region as a new scam is showing up targeting business owners and their employees.
The scammers try to convince their targets to bring cash to a location and we know that at least one business is out lots of money because the scammers are slick.
“The employee received a phone call on its business line and they identified themselves as police investigating counterfeit cash that allegedly came from their business,” said Wyoming Area Regional Police Department Sergeant Leonard Lombardo.
Detectives say that set the scam in motion.
“At that point, they obtained the employee’s name and phone number and the owner’s name and phone number. They then calls the employee’s cell phone spoofing the owner’s number stating it’s police again and the owner is on the line,” Sergeant Lombardo explained.
Spoof calls can be made by using a variety of apps that give the person who is called the impression that the call is coming from a legitimate source, such as the police.
Wyoming Area Police Department says an employee of a business fell for it. Now they are trying to get the word out to other businesses in the area.
“She believed that the money she gave to CVS was going to be examined for counterfeit,” Sergeant Lombardo stated.
“And that just wasn’t the case obviously,” 28/22 News I-Team Reporter Andy Mehalshick asked.
“Correct, it was just being transferred to the scammer,” Sergeant Lombardo replied.
Sergeant Lombardo explains the transfer occurs through a gift card.
“Police will never call any business or resident to solicit for cash or anything like that. In the case of counterfeit, we would come in person in uniform to do the investigation. We never call by phone and instruct an employee to take cash anywhere,” Sergeant Lombardo said.
“Yeah, we are fighting technology. There’s a lot of apps, lots of programs in computers where they can spoof numbers and let people believe that it is in fact other people calling them,” said Wyoming Area Regional Police Department Chief Mike Turner.
Investigators say when in doubt, hang up and report the scam call to the police to alert other potential scam targets.