- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 8, 2001

THE WASHINGTON TIMES
At least half a dozen restaurants in suburban Maryland, including several in Bethesda's central business district, have been targeted by a scam artist looking for credit-card numbers in recent weeks.
There have been six incidents since mid-March where a man identifying himself as Detective Clark from Montgomery County police in Bethesda has called a restaurant and attempted to get credit-card information from the employees. Four calls have been made in the past two weeks, Montgomery County police said.
The scams occurred at restaurants in Bethesda, Rockville, Gaithersburg and Germantown. At least four of the restaurants are in downtown Bethesda.
The phone calls are coming from New Jersey area code 973 and Philadelphia area code 215, according to some of the restaurants' caller-ID devices.
No one has given any credit-card information to the caller, said Officer Amy Homrock, a spokeswoman for the Montgomery County Police Department.
Members of the Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce were notified of the scams in the most recent chamber newsletter.
"We take every assault like this seriously," said Ginanne Italiano, executive director of the chamber.
Dana Mathis, the community-services officer for the 2nd District of the Montgomery County Police Department in Bethesda, issued the crime alert. She was out of town and unavailable for comment.
Officials from the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce and the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce said they were not aware of the scam.
* Donna DeMarco and Tim Lemke contributed to this report.


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