Speaking to the Lusa agency, the Secretary General of ACDE, Mariana Candeias, indicated that the association was informed of the occurrence of fraud attempts in the Alentejo city by the Food and Economic Security Authority (ASAE) itself.

“The information we received from ASAE was that there have already been scams taking place leading to the filing of criminal complaints”.

The ACDE has already sent an email alert to its approximately 800 members, all in the Évora district, who operate in the commerce, tourism and services sectors, in addition to publishing a notice on social media.

Mariana Candeias said that fraudsters are calling businesspeople in the city, especially in the restaurant sector, around lunchtime, when restaurants have customers, and identify themselves as ASAE inspectors.

“They say that there was a complaint against the establishment, for not having fire hydrants or not having displayed, in a visible way, the plan of the space and that these are infractions that can lead to the payment of six thousand to 25 thousand euros in fines”.

The fraudsters, she reported, asked the merchant to collaborate under the threat of closing the establishment, requesting the immediate payment of a reduced fine of 600 euros so as not to have to pay more and provide an ATM reference.

“It seems that the ATM reference is already known to be used in other scams”, she stressed.

The secretary general of ACDE asked businesspeople, if they were contacted, not to respond to the request, remembering that ASAE does not carry out inspections over the phone or ask for the payment of fines without first initiating a case.