Scammers Target Area Restaurants

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  • An old scam is taking on new form at local restaurants
  • Con artists place huge orders
  • They want restaurant owners to wire money to an unknown courier

(Southaven, MS)     An old scam is taking on a different form and targeting at least one Mid-South restaurant.

Charlie Wiggins, who owns The Boiling Point Seafood and Oyster Bar, described an unusual TTY call he got.  TTY calls translate information, usually from deaf callers.  The unknown “caller” wanted to place a carryout order for 200 grilled chicken salads.

“It’s just uncharacteristic of our business to get a $1400 carryout order of grilled chicken salads, and that was my initial cue that we’ve got a problem here,” Wiggins said.

It turns out the “sweet” deal was fishy.  Wiggins played along, carrying on a long email conversation with the customer, who told him an unnamed courier would come to pick up the order.  Wiggins also says he was told to charge the order to the customer’s credit card, but wire $950 to an address via Western Union.

Being asked to send money in order to get money is almost always a sure fire sign that a deal is a scam, and Wiggins did not take the conversation any further.

“I knew the minute that we didn’t process the credit card, that we did not wire transfer the money, that would be the last time we heard from this person, and they just went away,” Wiggins said.

The scam takes on many forms, and con artists often target individuals by telling them they’ve won the lottery, but need to send money to claim their prize.  Wiggins has saved the emails and may turn them over to Southaven police.