LEE COUNTY, Fla.- Phone scammers try to take a local business to the cleaners. They demanded immediate payment, or the power would be cut off. It happened on Christmas eve to Metro Cleaners in Fort Myers.
"I got the call in the afternoon, and the caller said, I have to make a payment to keep the power on. The caller said technicians would be at the business in 45 minutes to cut off the power," says Megan Buel of Metro Cleaners. "It was horrible, Christmas eve, I was told we would not have power for the holiday season if it was cut off. They were out to really get me."
"I phoned our financial person at home and she told me, the Florida Power and Light bill is current, paid in full. I also called FPL to confirm the same. So I did not pay," says Buel.
"I just don't want anyone else to be taken by this scam," adds Buel.
"This has been happening to some local places, and we have talked with FPL. They do not ever call to demand payment, they don't operate that way. So if a call sounds suspicious, it probably is. Do not give out your personal information, do not give out credit card numbers, nothing," advises Lt. Victor Medico of the Fort Myers Police Department.
The department put out a news release on December 7, saying two un-named companies had gotten these kinds of FPL cut-off calls. That release said, those companies did not fall for the scam.
FPL says on its website, that these phone scams sometimes target businesses in all 35 Floridas counties, where the company supplies power. FPL says it has two pages of information on how to protect yourself from scams, on its website. FPL would not say why the scammers appear to be targeting the Fort Myers area, or whether anybody locally has given money to the scammers.
Here is the link for the FPL pages with information to avoid scams: www.fpl.com/protect