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Overpayment scam targets Madison restaurant

Updated: May. 19, 2021 at 6:16 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A common email scam involving fraudulent electronic checks has made its way to the Madison area.

A Madison restaurant is the latest target of the email phishing and overpayment scam. Lodgic Everyday Kitchen just off University Avenue is a fairly new business in Madison serving Wisconsin-style comfort. The restaurant, bar, and café opened last year.

The sales manager says she got an email from a man looking to place a large meal order as a good deed for a small group of health care workers.

“I quoted him out what he was looking for and our prices...he actually went through the process of selecting menu items,” said Ava Kenny.

Kenny says the man never shared what organization he was from and avoided phone calls, only communicating through email.

“This guy didn’t have a business email, he’s not signing his full signature. He didn’t tell me what business he was ordering for...so there were a lot of questions in my mind,” said Kenny.

The man then asked Kenny for a “favor”. He said he didn’t have access to a credit card and wanted to pay for the order using an electronic check, offering over $2,000 more than he owed.

The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau says this is a common scam and that the electronic check was likely fake. The manager didn’t fall for it and reported it to the BBB.

Regional Director, Tiffany Schultz says this is one of several types of email phishing scams the BBB is tracking.

“It’s concerning because more and more businesses are doing business virtually. Scammers are taking advantage,” said Schultz.

Kenny says it’s upsetting to know someone would try something like this and warns others to be careful.

Scammers will use these tactics on anyone to get what they want. It’s important to know the warning signs.

Here’s what the BBB says you can do to avoid this scam:

  • If something sounds suspicious, confirm it by calling the company directly or checking the company website. Don’t click on links in an unexpected email – type the URL for the company into your browser or do a web search to find the right website. Also, check the existence of the company by searching online directories, Google, and with BBB.org.
  • Look for red flags. This includes poor grammar, spelling and punctuation errors and sentences that do not make sense. Also, often and as in this case, the email will not include a company or organization’s full name and contact information.
  • Don’t click, download, or open anything that comes from an anonymous sender. This is likely an attempt to gain access to your personal information or install malware on your computer.
  • Be cautious of generic emails. Scammers try to cast a wide net by including little or no specific information in their fake emails. Always be wary of unsolicited messages via email or text. Scammers will often avoid having to talk or meet in person or via phone.
  • Report your experience. Remember, if something sounds too good to be true, it is. Share the information to help warn others - take time to report scams and fraud to BBB Scam Tracker.

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