As a florist, Cat Epright loves Valentine's day
"It's exciting. It's a lot of work -go,go,go,go- but it's fun," said the owner of Green Dahlia in Middletown.
Wednesday morning, she received a phone call that turned her day upside down. The man on the line said he was from Eversource Energy and that she owed money.
"The disconnect team is on the way and they'll be there in 45 minutes if you don't pay this $800 bill," she said.
The prospect of losing power during her busiest time of year threw cat into a tailspin. The man on the phone offered to delay the disconnection if she wired at least 600 dollars right away. He gave her an 844 number to call to make arrangements.
State Police Sargeant Rich Cournoyer received 11 calls on Wednesday alone about this same scenario. He said it's scam with a new twist.
"This one was pretty unique because the number you call identified as a calling center for Eversource. And they put you through the prompts like you normally would when you call a company," said the 19-year veteran.
Today, when he dialed that same phone number, it was no longer in service.
Cat got caught up in the moment, she rushed to her bank for cash and wired 600 dollars.
"They know you're in tunnel vision and panic mode and you can't think about this clearly you just want the problem to go away," said Epright.
Two hours later, when the same man called back for more money she realized she'd been scammed. She said she feels violated and embarrassed that she fell victim, but she doesn't have time this week to worry about anything, except her flowers...
"Tt's definitely never going to happen to me again," she said.
Sargeant Cournoyer said another small business owner in Mansfield feel victim to the scam as well.
The Troubleshooters reached out to Eversource energy, and a spokesperson confirmed this is a scam, the company provided some tips for customers.
Eversource said they will never demand instant payment over the phone, the company will never request customers to wire money or meet at a payment center and when in doubt, customers should call the toll free number on your Eversource bill.