Sophisticated phone scammers continue targeting Milford businesses, residents | WRDE

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Sophisticated phone scammers continue targeting Milford businesses, residents

Updated: Dec 6, 2018 10:04 PM
By Abbey Smith

(MILFORD, Del.) - Scam artists are at it again, and this time they're targeting businesses in Milford. Fur Baby Boutique posted on their Facebook page Wednesday afternoon that they received a suspicious phone call. According to owner Sherry Shupe, it was a young man with a thick accent who claimed to be a Delmarva Power representative. "We noticed that it was Delmarva Power calling on the caller I.D.," said Shupe. "[The caller] said that they were giving us a courtesy call to let us know to unplug any of our electronics and devices that we did not want to be ruined when they turned off our power." Shupe says that's when the caller said her account "had been flagged for disconnection for lack of payment." Fortunately for Shupe, she knew right away that something wasn't right. "I said, 'well, that's very hard to believe considering we're not Delmarva Power customers,'" explained Shupe. "But the person was very professional on the phone and said 'ma'am, I'm sorry I can't discuss your account. Here's a number that you'll have to call with any questions and make a payment.'" Shupe says the numbers they told her to contact was 800-313-0980 and 800-375-7117. "This is the biggest scam that we've seen over the last several years," said Jim Smith, Sr. Public Affairs Manager of Delmarva Power. "We would certainly never in a short time frame and on a first phone call, call a customer and say your power is going to be disconnected if you don't give us payment. We would work with customers long before that." According to Delaware State Police, these scams are very common and have been occurring throughout the entire State of Delaware. "Often times the number on the caller ID is "spoofed" to manipulate the Caller ID so that it appears to be coming from the person or business that they claim to be," said Master Corporal Melissa Jaffe. Cpl. Jaffe says a few red flags to look out for include: -If the caller is demanding immediacy of the payment. -If the caller is requiring you to use a specific form of payment such as gift cards or pre-paid credit cards. -If the caller is threatening to bring in the local police or other law-enforcement agencies to have you arrested for not paying. "It comes without warning, of course, because it's a scam, and I do think you see an uptick during the holiday season," said Smith. "It's disheartening," said Shupe. "I know of several people personally and professionally that have unfortunately fallen for the scams and it really does some serious damage to them." Police say anyone who believes they are a victim should contact their local police department immediately.