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Beware of Scams Targeting Restaurants

CONTACT: Carol Wight, CEO
Scams Target Restaurants
Restaurants are an easy target for scammers looking to take advantage of their hospitable nature. We have assembled a list of common scams that restaurants face below. Click on the scam name for more details on that particular scam. You may also want to visit the NM Attorney General’s Office website for more information on scams.
Please contact us ( if you are hit with a scam so we can update our list.
August 2013 – Newest Scam: PNM Scam

Be alerted that a caller identifying themselves as a representative of PNM (Power NM) is calling restaurants and telling them that if they do not give them a credit card to pay their electric bill, their power will be shut off within an hour. Do not pay them! It’s a scam. Click here for more details or Click Here for Spanish
Over-Ordering Scam/Relay Operator Scam
A restaurant is contacted via email or telephone, often multiple times. A large takeout or catering order is then placed – frequently the number is 300 people – more details here
Another version is when someone calls or faxes or e-mails and places a large order to be paid with credit card…..
An additional variation is that the scammer uses a “TTY” operator to place the call….
Health Department Scams
1) A number of restaurants in have received telephone calls from a person claiming to be a “health inspector from the US Department of Health” introducing a new procedure for arranging a health inspection. More Information
2) The New Mexico Environmental Health Division has reported to AG Gary King’s Consumer Protection Division that the latest version of the “Health Inspector” scam is making its way into restaurants statewide. More Information
Counterfeit Cash
Pay close attention during all cash transactions and report any suspicious currency immediately. Click here to see other suggestions from the Police.
Service Call Scam
Someone calls and tells you its time for your annual, semi-annual, or whatever checkup on some equipment like fire extinguishers. You have it done only to realize its not your supplier but your supplier’s competitor at a higher rate. By then it is too late. Be sure you know and verify all persons working in your restaurant and providing services to your business.
Poorly Worded Order – be aware of any orders, inquiries, etc that are poorly worded, using broken English and sketchy details.
Glass in Food – several Albuquerque-area restaurants have reported that patrons are complaining of glass in their to-go orders and requesting cash back. When the patron is advised that it would need to go through insurance, they suddenly drop their claim and disappear.
The New Mexico Restaurant Association’s mission is to empower the food and beverage industry by promoting and protecting common values and interests. It has more than 1,000 members in 111 cities all over New Mexico, who join together for meetings, seminars and the hospitality industry awards to honor the industry’s top achievers. It has actively represented and promoted the food service industry in New Mexico since 1946.

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