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Sophisticated new scam targets small business owners

Updated: Friday, October 18 2013, 07:27 PM CDT
Reported by: Chris Papst 

HARRISBURG -- small business owners beware; scam artists are now coming after you and this time they are highly trained and prepared.

"If I didn't think it was a scam and checking the whole time, yes, it was very believable," said a small business owner who wished not to be identified.  

Last Friday, the man who -- because of his job as a private investigator asked to remain anonymous -- received a strange call. It was a woman from Kentucky named "Renee."  

She told him she could help his small business get government contracts worth up to a million dollars. A few days later he received another call from a man in Florida who, with great knowledge, guided his would-be victim through an actual government website explaining how he can help secure contracts; all this man had to do was hand over his credit card number and pay about $1,000.
"Con job. I could smell it because I had debt with one of these out of Florida before and I knew exactly what was going on,” said the man. “They go after the most vulnerable. They go after the small businesses that are looking for their first big win."

David Black, with the Harrisburg Regional Chamber of Commerce, tells his members when they come across anything suspicious to never give out a credit card and keep their information secure.  But he understands how these highly-trained scam artists can trick people.

“These kind of people need to be stopped,” added Black. “They need to be taught a lesson.”

“I knew it was a scam,” said the small business owner. “I just didn't know at what level it was.”

The private investigator did call the attorney general in Florida who said they know of this scam and are working to track down those behind it. 
Sophisticated new scam targets small business owners

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