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Scammer Targeting Rochester Restaurants
By JEFF RUSACK | firstname.lastname@example.org
Some say they'll never fall victim to a phone scam asking for their credit card information.
But one scammer in the Rochester area has been having some success.
Craig Restuccia owns Hose 22 in Charlotte. Tuesday he came close to losing a lot of money.
A man named Jamison Taylor called the restaurant claiming to work for Rochester Gas and Electric. He demanded $3,500 or else the restaurant's power would be shut off in 45 minutes.
"We were just coming into the dinner rush," said Restuccia. "I have over 50 employees with patrons coming in for dinner, I couldn't have him turn it off. So, I was thinking just let me make an extra payment."
Restuccia gave him his credit card number, but that wasn't good enough for the scammer, who then wanted payment from a green dot card.
That set off red flags.
Restuccia hung up and called RG&E customer service, which confirmed his business was up to date on payments.
RG&E is familiar with this scam.
"We get reports of them probably everyday," said Dan Hucko who is a RG&E spokesperson.
RG&E and their two sister companies had 53 such scams reported to them in June and 111 in July.
"It's insidious. They tend to target small business onwers or restaurateurs or bar owners who are right before their lunchtime rush or their evening rush," added Hucko.
Ristuccia held onto "Jamison Taylor's" number
So, we decided to give Mr. Taylor a call at the offices of RG&E.
"Hello is this RG&E?"
He responded by saying this is RG&E and after a few seconds of silence, he quickly hung up.
"He's not just doing this to me, he's out there doing it to a lot of other people," said Ristuccia.
Ristuccia did call the police but he says they have not gotten back to him.
RG&E says the police take these scams very seriously.