COOPER CITY, Fla. - It started with a phone call from a man Marola's Trattoria owner Omar Errazquin thought was a representative from Florida Power & Light. That man had some bad news.
"That they were going to come over and cut the services because we haven't paid the bill," Errazquin told Local 10 News.
Of course, Errazquin had paid, so the man got creative.
"They tell me, 'Yes, we received the money and we applied the money to the wrong account. You are going to get refunded, but in the meantime, if you don't pay today we will cut the electricity,'" Errazquin said.
The man wanted $967.13 on a cash debit card and told Errazquin to call him back. He even said he would refund the cost of the cards Errazquin would have to purchase.
"You scratch the back and you have the number," Errazquin said. "That is the number, OK, that I was supposed to call them back with, so once they get the number they get the money."
Police said the scam targets small business owners like Errazquin because they are usually extremely busy and need the electricity to stay in business.
Errazquin and his partner, Rolando Gallegos, have been in business for 18 years and never had an issue with FPL. Luckily for Errazquin, he could not find the cash card the man wanted him to buy, so he called FPL's customer service number.
"She says, 'Mr. Errazquin, you don't owe us any money,'" Errazquin said.
It is not a new scam, but it is one that works. A day care owner and woman who runs a salon were fleeced for hundreds of dollars.
FPL is aware of the scam and warns that customers should immediately contact the phone number on their FPL bill. FPL also warns not to provide personal or financial information on the phone unless contacted by the customer, and FPL will never threaten to shut off service if immediate action is not taken.
"I am not going to be the first one, and the sad thing is that I might not be the last one either," Errazquin said.
Copyright 2014 by Local10.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.