Chinatown restaurants in Las Vegas are on high alert after reportedly receiving scam messages threatening lawsuits and demanding payment via WeChat.
How it works: The scammer orders food from the restaurant and pretends to have discovered a piece of metal scrubber in their meal after their child is injured eating it, according to KTNV.
Photos are sent via the messaging app WeChat, along with a demand that the restaurant pay their medical bills.
“With business hard to come by right now, we’re afraid,” Jun Ren, who owns a restaurant in Chinatown and was asked to fork over over $1,000, told the station. “We’re afraid they will spread the word and say my restaurant did this and that.”
Other local Chinese restaurant owners in a WeChat group also said they received the same photos, and one of them did pay money directly.
Ren believes she and the restaurant owners were targeted because they know little to no English.
At least six Chinese restaurants in the valley have been targeted over the past few months, according to Shannon Yang, who manages the Chinatown Vegas website and is also a member of the WeChat group.
Getting the FBI involved: Yang believes the scammers are Chinese using different phone numbers because the exchanges have all been in Mandarin.
She reached out to the FBI and wants other restaurant owners to stay alert.
Ren believes non-Chinese will also be targeted.
“I’m sending this warning to others, so they don’t fall for this. I hope no one else does like I nearly did,” she told KTNV.
The bureau told the station it can neither confirm nor deny an investigation into the scam has begun.
Featured Image via KTNV
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