WINHALL -- On Monday, The Stones Lodge Restaurant received several phone calls through a relay service from someone claiming to be a customer. The "customer" wanted to order $1,500 worth of food and charge it to a credit card. But there’s a catch ....
After placing the order, the customer then asked the staff to add $500 to the bill, charged to the card, and then take the "extra" and wire it to their driver who would be picking up the food. The "extra" monies would be for the driver’s expenses and it will "save the caller from having to incur more charges on his card."
The Winhall Police and Rescue Department is warning local business to be wary of calls like these, calling it "a new twist to an old scam."
The Sprint TTY Relay Service being used by the scammer(s) is a system that allows hearing and speech impaired persons to communicate by telephone with the hearing world by typing a message over a special phone and having it relayed by an operator vocally to a hearing person on a normal phone.
The Stones Lodge Restaurant, located on River Road in Bondville, has been in business for about two years. Manager Jeff Gaudet told investigators that the restaurant had received about five to seven calls of this type. No orders had been filled or money wired out because of the alert staff.
During the Winhall Police Department’s investigation, it was discovered that one of the numbers used was a landline to a
Police officials are telling area business owners and operators to:
-- ask the customer for his/her full name, address and telephone number if the customer is using a TTY relay operator.
-- ask the customer to provide the name of the issuing bank and its toll-free customer service number as printed on the back of all credit cards.
-- ask for the three or four digit Card Verification Code found near the account number on the back or front of a credit card. If the card number is stolen, this number will be unknown.
-- tell the customer you will check with the bank and call them back. When you do that, keep good notes. Verify all information the customer provides. If a customer objects, explain that these procedures are for their protection as well as yours.
If the customer still objects to providing any of the above information, abandon the conversation and tell him you are not prepared to do business this way
The Vermont Attorney General’s office of consumer fraud is being contacted. The investigation is continuing in Winhall.