Police warn restaurants of scam

Published 12:01 am Thursday, March 24, 2011

Local restaurants are being warned of a circulating scam that could cost companies both cash money and product.

Sgt. Alice Donaldson of the Andalusia Police Department said a local restaurant that offers catering services recently made a report concerning a fraudulent purchase.

“It’s a strange situation,” Do naldson said. “Som-eone sent an email to the restaurant and placed an order for a special event they were having. It was a large food order totaling several hundreds of dollars.

“The email outlined their instructions as to when the food would be picked up and even offered to prepay,” she said.

Donaldson said payment arrangements via credit card were made between the two parties.

“At some point during the transaction, someone at the restaurant was convinced to send a portion of the sale back to the ones who made the order,” she said. “The person who placed the order was from out of town and said they’d send someone to pick up the food. They never showed.”

Donaldson said the restaurant took a hit on two fronts – the cash that was sent back to the person who placed the order and the cost on what it took to cook the food.

Donaldson compared the scenario to similar email scams such as being chosen as a lottery winner or helping someone liberate confiscated funds from a third-world country.

“It’s just a different twist on the same scam,” she said. “Fraud is what it is, and local business owners should be aware. Don’t fall for it.”