Businesses are Often the Target of Scammers - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

04/19/06 - Lufkin

Businesses are Often the Target of Scammers

by Ramonica R. Jones

Most of us have seen them - they're called Internet legends. They often warn us via email to look out for contaminated needles hidden in places many of us use everyday, like gas pumps and payphone coin return slots. Angelina County resident, Kathryn Pleasant, believes them. She said the worst thing happened to her while pumping gas.

"When I squeezed the nozzle, it felt like a wasp sting, so I stopped pumping and when I pulled my hand out, there was the tip end of a syringe that they screwed the needle off of and the needle had stuck in my finger," Pleasant said.

Pleasant said she spent about $200 on blood work and doctor's visits. Her lab work came back normal. Gas station employees looked for the needle, but found nothing.

"I have no reason to lie for it," said Pleasant. "I have been doing business there at that store for over 20 years and everybody knows my face. They know my honesty and I don't feel like I need to explain myself when I'm telling the truth."

But major companies are often the target of false accusations. Back in 2001, an East Texas man was accused of using a syringe to tamper with bread at a Lufkin grocery store. The bread was tested and the case was later dropped because there was not enough evidence against him.

Kim McClung, Brookshire Brothers internal communications director, said, "You can't always control what people will say, but you can control what happens within your company and should an event occur, we will do everything we could to correct that problem and make sure that we prevent it in the future."

Most companies have policies and procedures in place to deal with false claims. It's a civil matter that can result in a lawsuit, depending on the case.

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