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Local News

February 5, 2014

Peabody fish market reports receiving scam calls

PEABODY —At the end of January, New Brothers Restaurant and Deli, a well-known Danvers Square eatery, was targeted with a scam in which a caller threatened to shut off power in less than an hour unless a payment was made.

The co-owner, however, was wise to what was going on and did not fall for it.

Yesterday morning, Maria Machado of Machado Fish Market on Paleologos Street said she received similar calls from a man with an accent who gave the name of “Frank,” who demanded $1,000 or else her fish market’s power would be shut off.

“He kept calling and calling and he wouldn’t stop calling,” Machado said.

The first call came to the market and was picked up by her husband, she said. He relayed the information to Machado, who checked with the Peabody Municipal Light Plant. They said her bills were paid on time.

“That’s how I found out it was a scam,” Machado said.

The caller kept calling. Machado said she contacted police, but she was told there was little the department could do. She said police tried calling the number, which turned out to be an out-of-state number.

Police Sgt. Thomas O’Keefe said he did not see the incident in the police log, but he said such scams have become common. A Bridge Street business in Salem also fielded a similar call in the first week of January, according to a check of The Salem News police log.

A call to the number Machado found, which has a 978 area code, said simply: “Thank you for calling the National Grid connection department. At this moment all of our agents are busy. Please leave a detailed message and we will call you back.”

Peabody is served by its own municipal light department, and not National Grid. A message seeking comment was left with the alleged connection department.

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