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Police warn scam targeting Centre Co. businesses

By: Lauren Hensley

BELLEFONTE, Pa. -- Police are warning about a scam in Centre County. According to police it starts with a phone call.

"Scammers have targeted restaurants. Every business we have talked too has been a restaurant, they were all contacted during busy hours," said Detective Dale Moore with the Spring Township Police Department.

Scammers are targeting Centre County restaurants during peak business hours. Callers posing as West Penn Power employees.

After ratting off some key information, "The caller had the dollar amount she told me exactly what our last month's bill was," said Governor's Pub restaurant manager Donna Benner.

Police said they tell the business their bill is passed due and they must pay up.

"Or else they would shut down our power within the hour," Benner said.

Benner said her restaurant was a target and Spring Township police said they aren't the only ones. Police said they have received several reports from businesses stating someone called saying they owned on an electric bill but in reality their bill was already paid.

"You have to ask more questions because they red flags are there," Moore said.

"She gave me the address but she couldn't give me my account number. So I said let me check on this and I pulled our bills. I went to the office and pulled out bills and called the 1-800 number on the bill and checked when our balance was paid and there was no outstanding balance," Benner said.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times