OCEAN BEACH, Calif. - Multiple businesses in Ocean Beach say they have been duped out of thousands of dollars by a very elaborate and believable scam.
According to the owners, the crooks call businesses, claim to be with the power company, and demand payment.
"They said this is San Diego Gas & Electric, and we never got your payment," said business owner Carol Ladiges. "'You're delinquent!' I said, I've never been delinquent -- not in 16 years."
Ladiges owns the very successful Lighthouse Ice Cream & Yogurt shop on Newport Avenue in Ocean Beach. She said she got hit by the scammers for more than $1,500.
Police said Ladiges is one of three businesses targeted on that street alone.
"They're good. That's what they do for a living, and they’re good at their game, "Ladiges said.
Ladiges told 10News that the caller had specific information about her account, including her payment information. She said they followed all of her questions with what sounded like credible answers. So, she said, when they told her that she missed the cut off notice on the business’s front door, she believed them.
"Then I'm second guessing myself. Maybe I misplaced it. Maybe it slipped down in the car seat. Maybe it got delivered to the wrong address. Maybe the wind blew the notice off the door. Oh my gosh, I can't believe it," she said.
Ladiges told 10News that she was so embarrassed about being tricked that she almost did not report the crime. But when she heard that other businesses on her street were targets as well, she decided others needed to know.
"It's a horrible thing," Ladiges said. "But if I can prevent other people from feeling the pain that I feel, then it's a good thing."