ST. CHARLES, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- Jackie Huebbe owns Sugarbot Sweet Shop and Little O’s Soda Shop on Main Street in St. Charles and right now she’s working to try to save her businesses.
“I don't like asking for help or admitting that we really need help right now to stick around,” said Huebbe.
On September 3, an employee at Little O’s took a phone call from someone pretending to be a St. Charles City Police officer.
“They told our employee we had deposited counterfeit funds into our checking account and they were investigating because of it and they were emailing back and forth with my husband and I. Our names are very easy to find on the website,” said Huebbe.
The caller then instructed the employee to right the situation they could pay with the money in the store and the employee was told to put all the available cash on Moneypak gift cards.
“She went to multiple stores to get them, they kept her on the phone the whole time, they instructed her to read the numbers on the back and then rip up the receipts and cards,” said Huebbe.
In hindsight there are numerous red flags, but this scam is very common. News 4 has covered it several times over the years with scammers posing as police or Ameren workers. At Walgreens, there are warning signs next to the gift cards about possible scams.
“There’s no chance of tracing it,” said Huebbe. ‘It was a substantial amount of money.”
Now they’re working to find a way to stay afloat in an already different economic time. Thankfully the community is rallying around them. But Huebbe said she doesn’t want a hand out, so she’s created the Sweet Support Boxes on their website. People can purchase a box in a certain amount and then the shop will turn around and donate baked goods to local nursing homes and teachers.
“I really want to use this as a way to help others as well. I don't want to be helped for nothing.”
St. Charles police are investigating the incident and St. Peters police are warning of a similar scam happening right now. St. Peters said the scammers are using the police department’s own number.
“The St. Peters Police Department, nor any other police department in this area, will ever call you to demand bond for yourself or a loved one. We also will not accept bond over the phone under any circumstances.”