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An Endicott restaurant owner says he was scammed out of $500

By Emily Girsch.
The morning of January 18th was a normal one for Dan Wright until he received a strange phone call at 10:15 a.m.

"They said they were from NYSEG and that I was behind on my payments and I said, 'No I'm not, my bills are current."

Dan is the owner of the Spartan Diner in Endicott. He uses NYSEG electric company for both his business and his home.

He was able to access his accounts online and prove that he had paid the bill for the diner and that the check had cleared.

The person on the other end of the phone said that NYSEG had a new system, and they had accidentally applied his payment for the diner to his residential electric bill.

They said a NYSEG operative was already on his way to shut off the power at the diner, if they didn't receive cash from Dan right away.

"After that they said the only way we can correct this is if I go to Weiss grocery store and get out a card called a reload card and pay $495. That was the minimum payment."

The NYSEG impersonator said once he gave them the confirmation code on the reload card, they would correct the mistake on the accounts and reimburse the $495.

The next day, he received another suspicious phone call asking for $495 once again.

That's when he knew he had been scammed.

"I went to NYSEG. They told me there's a scam going on. Last month it's in Binghamton. Now it's in Endicott."

Dan filed a report with New York State police but they weren't able to retrieve his money.

Attorney General Schneiderman was made aware of the utility scam, as well as other scams in the area, including IRS and lottery.

For more tips on how to avoid phone scams, you can visit ag.ny.gov and click on 'Press Releases', and then scroll down to the December 7th release on phone scams.