SCAM ALERT: Lansing business owner warns community

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – A Lansing business owner is warning people of a phone scam that almost cost her hundreds of dollars.

“There was a lot of red flags in the back of my mind, but I just didn’t pay attention, I just got suckered in,” said Carol Peterson, the owner of Elegante Studio in Lansing.

It’s a reality for many across the country: getting scammed over the phone.

“I’ve been a woman business owner in Lansing for 50 years, I should have known better, and I didn’t,” said Peterson.

Peterson says she received a call at the store by someone claiming to work for Consumers Energy, telling her she owed them money, and asking her for more than $300.

Peterson says they told her:

“‘We’re on our way to disconnect you right now, we’re on our way.’ I said, ‘Well can’t you stop them?’, he says ‘Well you know, get it done right away,'” said Peterson.

But when Peterson went to get a money card to pay them, the clerk saved the day.

“She stopped me and she said ‘Don’t you touch that card’, she said ‘This is a scam; I was taken for $1500,'” said Peterson.

Consumers Energy officials say one of the most common energy scams is someone calling your phone and pretending to be them, and demanding money within a short period of time.

“Sadly, scam activity is something that goes on all the time,” said Brian Wheeler, a spokesperson for Consumers Energy.

Wheeler says in just this year alone, scammers have gotten away with $35,000 in fake payments.

“A lot of times it’s that pressure, it’s that intimidation that the scammer is counting on,” said Wheeler. “If they can make you feel like you’re on the defensive, then they might have a chance to essentially trick you into making a payment.”

“I was that close, that close, I’d been suckered in,” said Peterson.

Peterson says it can happen to anyone, and even though she didn’t give up the money, she wants people to be more aware and think twice before it’s too late.

“I’m horrified because they can’t get it back,” said Peterson.

For more tips how to prevent yourself from getting scammed, click here.

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