The Madera County Sheriff's office says a local business has been scammed out of almost $1000. The scam involves getting a threatening phone call where the scammer asks you to send them money using a 'Green Dot Money Pak Card'.
'The Vineyard' restaurant in Madera received a call from thieves this week. The crooks said that the restaurant was behind on its 'PG&E' bill and if it didn't pay right away, the power would be turned off.
"It's scary because without power, we're out of business," says 'The Vineyard' owner Chris Mariscotti, "It's concerning even if you think it's a scam because you can't be too sure."
Mariscotti says the thieves asked one of his managers to pay the $994 bill by using a 'Green Dot Money Pak Card'. The manager realized it was scam right away and hung up. She called PG&E and was told that it was scam.
Cindy Dudley from the 'Better Business Bureau' says scammers like to use 'Green Dot Money Pak Cards' because you load them with cash, then either mail the card or give the thieves the card number over the phone.
"It's easy, there's no violent crimes attached and it's untraceable," says Cindy Dudley from the Better Business Bureau, "It's also very hard to find the culprit."
If you do fall for the scam Dudley says you will never get the money back.
"Absolutely never ever give your card information to a stranger. If you don't know them, if you have not done business with them, and if you do not have a trusting relationship with them, do not give them the information," adds Dudley.
If you receive a call and are asked to buy a 'Green Dot Money Pak Card', you should call your local Police Department or Sheriff's Department, so they can warn people about the scam.