So we've been getting phone calls on a regualr basis at the restaurant that make me so angry. They involve scams of course. Fortunately we have not yet become a victim of a major one but it's not for lack of trying on the scammers' part. Here are 3 scams we are currently dealing with on a recurring basis:
1) Food donations for a dying child in the area. Now, when you receive a phone call from a woman stating that she is trying to help out an area family with a sick child your first instinct is to say "Absolutely! Let us know what we can do." We have done things for customers in the past that have truly been legitimate and appreciated. In the suspicious case, though, a woman called stating that her neighbor's child is dying of cancer and her favorite thing to eat is the chicken wings at our restaurant and asked if we would be willing to provide them for the family. She spoke with one of the managers who wanted to be sure this woman could reach him at the appropriate time as he would personally deliver the meal to the family so he provided her with his cell phone number. Since that initial conversation, she has called the restaurant numerous times asking to speak to him but will not leave messages, nor will she contact him on the number she provided. My assumption is that she doesn't want her number known and therefore I am almost certain she is trying to scam us. No, I don't know for sure, but there are cases of this happening in the area.
2)Relay calls. If you're not familiar with the relay calls, they are interpreted phone calls for the deaf. The phone operators are not involved in the scam but of course they don't know it is a scam when they are doing the relay. The caller always asks if we can do an order of 100 chicken caesar salads for a birthday (a funeral luncheon and an anniversary party have also been mentioned). If the restaurant does indeed take the order, the customer wants to pay by phone with a credit card so as not to have to worry about paying on the day of the event. The day of the event, they will call and cancel the order, asking for a cash refund, stating that since they paid ahead of time, they've already paid that charge on their credit card. The credit cards are actually stolen cards. Now, most places won't charge the card until the day of the event, but these people may insist upon being charged immediately due to the fact that the card is stolen and also in the attempt to receive a cash refund. Normally this is done on a much larger scale with construction and lumber companies, etc., but they prey on small businesses that they assume will not want to turn down a food order of this size. Fortunately we have never gotten beyond the point of them asking about ordering; I immediately looked it up on google and found out the scam. After telling my boss what this scam was, we tell the caller they need to pay cash and they generally hang up without placing an order.
3) Gift Certificates. The owner of my place is very generous to and supportive of our community. We often give gift certificates for a specific appetizer and pitcher of beer/soda as donations for prizes to various events. They have an expiration date which is clearly stated. Customers will bring them in with the date marked out and say they received it like that. Even more frustrating is when a gift certificate is being used by someone who actually requested it for a charity or event. We have one family in particular who always seems to have one. Yes, they may have 'won' or 'purchased' it at the event for which they requested it, but it starts to seem a little bit sketchy when they always seem to have one.
These are the 3 main ones that I've been noticing at our place; anyone else have some to share?