(KUTV) Restaurant owners across Utah are being robbed. It's a crime not being committed by an individual with gun but rather by an individual with a computer. The call came to Get Gephardt from a Salt Lake City restaurant owner after she got a suspicious email.
If you are looking for authentic Thai food, Kulnapa Siripong can hook you up. She recently opened Bangkok Terrace in downtown Salt Lake City. Last week, Kulnapa got an email placing a huge order.
"This one, boom, 150 people!” Kulnapa said. “It's like, wow, that's a big order."
Kulnapa says she took the order, did the math and sent a bid to the emailer.
"All together, everything included, [the charges came to] about $1600," she said.
The emailer agreed to the price but then things got strange. The emailer said he would be sending a special delivery company to pick up the order, one with an expensive refrigerated truck.
"[The cost of the delivery truck was] almost $1000,” Kulnapa said. “That’s more than half the price of the food. I said, no, kind of weird."
Kind of weird turned into way weird. The emailer asked Kulnapa to add the truck's cost to the food order, plus a nice fat tip, and charge it all to his credit card. Then Kulnapa was instructed to send the money to the delivery company wired Western Union. Not sure what to make of the request, Kulnapa decided to Get Gephardt.
Kulnapa was right to be suspicious. Many online reports call this the “courier scam." Using a stolen credit card, crooks trick business owners into wiring them money. When the bogus charges are eventually reversed, the business will be out any money they wired away.
Kulnapa suspects why her business was targeted because they are new and small. After Get Gephardt confirmed the email was a scam, she still wanted her story told.
“I don't want people to get scammed," she said.
Western Union knows that their service is regularly used to crooks to make tracking the crook near-impossible. When you get a suspicious email, Western Union says they want you to send it to them so they can work to shut the scammers down. You can forward any suspicious emails to email@example.com
By Matt Gephardt
Photography by Brian Morris
Edited by Aaron Colborn
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)