Restaurant owner falls victim to phone scam

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SHAWNEE, Kan. -- A man claiming to be with KCP&L called one metro restaurant owner and told him he owed money or his power would be shut off. Scared of losing business, he did as he was told.

"Last week they called me and told me I had to pay my bill because I was behind," said Peter Nguyen.

Nguyen owns Pho Good Vietnamese restaurant in Shawnee. He received a call from what he thought was Kansas City Power and Light.

"I told them that it's direct, and taken out automatically from the bank," Nguyen added, "They told me that because it's 2014 the computer system has changed, you have to pay it or otherwise they'll shut off my electricity. I don't want my customers to come in here and eat without the light! So I just went ahead and just paid them!"

"They instructed this individual to go to a pharmacy and obtain a green dot cash card, and then to call them back and give them the identification number," said Major Bill Hisle, with the Shawnee Police Department.

"I scratched the number on the back and I gave the number to them," said Peter.

His actual bill was just under $750.

"A couple days later I called KCP&L and I asked them, 'Why does my bill still show? I paid already,'" Peter said, "They told me you have a zero balance now, maybe that's a scam!"

KCP&L gave FOX 4 this statement:

"They are giving specific instructions including, but not limited to, payment types like green dot or other prepaid debit cards from drugstores like CVS and Walgreens. These calls are not associated with KCP&L. If customers receive calls similar to this, we encourage them not to render payment without ensuring the recipient is an actual representative of KCP&L."

"The real lesson to be learned here is never ever give out your personal or account information to anyone who calls you on the phone," added Major Hisle.

Peter says this is the first time he has ever been a victim of a scam. When he called the number back, it was already disconnected.

"If they did this to me, and I think they can do it to a lot of places, all the restaurants, so I wanted to file a police report, and stop them," Peter said.

Police say if you are unsure, you can always call the business back, or contact the police.

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