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York Police are warning residents about a potential scam after owners of a York grocery store and Chinese restaurant received phone calls from a man who claimed to be from Duke Power, and then threatened to cut off their power if they didn’t send money.
The owner of Woodlands Grocery, 606 N. Congress St., told police a man called his business Monday saying he was behind on his utility bill and service would be disconnected if he didn’t pay the debt, according to a York police report. The scammer called the storeowner several more times, telling him to go to a pharmacy and pay $797.
The owner, 51, drove to Rite Aid and asked where he could pay his Duke Power bill. The clerk told him he couldn’t pay the bill at the store. The caller overheard what the clerk said and told the storeowner to do a wire transfer. The storeowner became suspicious and called Duke Power. He learned all his bills were up-to-date and he hung up on the caller before contacting police.
Tuesday, the owner of the Chinese Kitchen on 419 E. Liberty St. said someone from Duke Power called her, claiming she owed $897.43. If she didn’t pay by 2 p.m., the caller said her power would be turned off. The woman followed the caller’s instructions and paid a total of $907 to the caller before going to the bank for advice.
That’s when an employee told her she had been scammed.
York Police Chief Andy Robinson gave these tips:
If anyone calls claiming to be from Duke Power, or any other business, always take their name, call back number and get as much information as to exactly what they are calling you about. They should already have your name, account number, and other personal or business information and not need to ask you for this. Once you have this information, call the company's number you get from the phone book, or from another reliable source, not the one they just gave you, and verify what they are telling you and who they are. If you have not received prior communication stating that your service is in jeopardy of being disconnected, this should raise a red warning flag.