Three Village businesses warn residents of scams

Three Village businesses warn residents of scams

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Representatives from Stony Brook Village Center, above, and The Bates House in Setauket said people have set up fraudulent social media accounts soliciting vendors for non-existing events at their venues. File photo

Stony Brook Village Center’s management team warned the community of a scam brought to their attention by a resident.

The center’s social media coordinator took to Facebook and Instagram Friday to let people know “that a fraudulent social media account has been soliciting potential vendors for Stony Brook Village events to participate and send money through PayPal to reserve a location.”

People were advised not to respond to the message or similar ones as they are not from anyone from the village center as they do not have vendors at their events.

On the village center’s Instagram account, a representative from The Bates House in Setauket said the same scam happened to their business.

Lise Hintze, manager of Bates House and Frank Melville Memorial Park, said a few months ago a vendor called her to confirm the date of a showcase she saw on Facebook. The day happened to coincide with a wedding to be held at Bates House.

The woman told her that she wanted to secure a spot at a vendor showcase at the venue through a Facebook page. She sent Hintze a screenshot of the post she was about to respond to asking vendors to reserve a spot for $40 to participate in a vendor day

“I’m glad she called to confirm, because she said, ‘I’m just confirming because I’m going to give my $40, and I just want to make sure I have the right day because sometimes there’s a mix-up on Facebook,’ and that’s when I said to her, ‘This is not true,’” Hintze said.

The venue manager said it was impossible to determine how many people saw the post and paid, if any, so she assigned a security guard to work the day of the wedding.

“I said every car that comes in, you have to stop them and ask them if they’re coming to the wedding, and if they’re saying, ‘No, we’re here for the vendor day,’ you have to tell them it’s a scam,” Hintze said, adding that they had no problem on the day of the wedding.

The woman who brought the problem to her attention commented on the fraudulent Facebook post that it was a scam and reported the page to the social media platform.

A Suffolk County Police Department representative shared some tips in an email, including individuals reaching out “directly to the organization to verify its association with the advertised event.”

“Anyone who believes they may be a victim of a crime through social media, particularly one during which they have shared personal information or sent money, is urged to file a police report by calling 631-852-SCAM (7226),” the representative said. “If residents encounter what appears to be a scam on social media, report the page to the social media platform itself, in addition to reporting the page to police.”