Mary O’Brick was on a plane back to New Jersey when her bar, Proud Mary’s, got the call.
"Somebody called here and said they were shutting our electric off in 45 minutes," said O’Brick.
They told Mary’s daughter that they could only accept prepaid “Vanilla Reload” cards to pay a deficit of $989.56.
To keep the lights on at Proud Mary’s, her daughter paid the man, only to learn Wednesday the whole thing was a scam.
"It feels terrible. My daughter's in tears. She's really upset that she lost all that money," said O’Brick.
In Mays Landing, baker Chris Groome said he was skeptical of the call almost immediately.
"Especially when he said that the technicians don't accept any money, you can only pay them by phone, I knew it was shady,” said Groome, who owns Brownies Squared in Mays Landing.
“A few minutes later I called back the same number from my cell phone. The same person picked up and said Atlantic Electric,” said Groome.
We reached out to Atlantic City Electric to see if they’re aware of these scammers.
Since December, they’ve been urging customers to look out for this type of scam.
In a statement Wednesday, the company said:
"When addressing past-due accounts, Atlantic City Electric never endorses a specific form of payment.
Instead, multiple options are always given to the customer.
If someone calls claiming to represent Atlantic City Electric, customers should ask the caller to verify their identity and not make a payment over the phone if threatened with immediate disconnection of service.”
As for Mary, she says she and her family won’t be fooled again.
"Just watch what happens and be careful. Call your Atlantic City Electric Company first,” said O’Brick.
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