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‘Going to shut off our utilities:’ Oak Creek restaurant receives scam calls every Friday for weeks

Erv's Mug

OAK CREEK -- A caller pretending to be with a utilities company says you owe money and if you don't pay up, your lights will be shut off. An Oak Creek restaurant owner refused to fall victim to the scam, and she's now warning others.

"We've been here for 39 years this year," Danielle Baerwald said.

For nearly four decades, Erv's Mug has served up casual, fine-dining American food on Ryan Rd. in Oak Creek. Baerwald is the owner.

"My dad started it in '79, when Oak Creek was basically cornfields," Baerwald said.

Baerwald said Erv's Mug was the target of scam calls.

Danielle Baerwald

Erv's Mug

"Telling us they were going to shut off our utilities," Baerwald said.

A caller told restaurant officials they're behind on a bill and failure to pay would mean utilities would be shut off.

"Two weeks was our electric. Last week was our gas," Baerwald said.

She said the fraudulent calls began a year ago, but picked back up -- every Friday for three weeks.

"The one that we reported to police was this past Friday (Feb. 2)," Baerwald said.

The caller requested $500 be sent from a prepaid card, which raised a red flag.

"These scammers are pretty savvy. They often turn to pretty intimidating tactics," Cathy Schulze with We Energies said.

Schulze said this scam isn't new.

Cathy Schulze

"If you are suspicious about something, immediately disconnect that call. Call us at our care center number," Schulze said.

Baerwald said she briefed her staff and wants other business owners to be aware, so no one falls victim.

"If you know your bills are paid, don't fall for this. It's very distressing," Baerwald said.

Erv's Mug officials not only contacted police, they've also reached out to We Energies -- the best steps to take when it comes to these scam calls.