Orlando police officers warn of a scam targeting small businesses

The Orlando Police Department has spotted a scam targeting small businesses and now they are trying to get the word out t warn others.

The event was for a supposed "October Festival" in Lake Eola Park, scheduled for this weekend but officers said it’s fake.

"Octoberfest. Lake Eola It looks good," said Tony Iacone as he took a look at the flyer. 

At first glance, he may be right. The colorful flyer for the event appears to be a good opportunity for a small business or artist trying to get their name out there. Unfortunately, Orlando Police say it’s anything but. 

"They’re trying to entice people to come out to this event that’s not real and they’re also trying to get people to spend money to participate in the event," said Officer Michelle Rogers. 

The flyer advertises purchasing a table for between $70 and $80 for the two-day event in the heart of the city. 

"It’s tough enough especially following the pandemic for a lot of small businesses. The backbone of America in my opinion," said Iacone. "Trying to take advantage of people who are already having struggles following this, they’re the worst."

It was some locals who brought the event to the attention of the Orlando Police. Officers quickly worked to verify the event which ended up being a farce. 

"Too good to be true," said Rogers. "Number one, take the time to stop, look at it."

To not fall victim to scams like these, OPD suggests researching the event and checking to see if it’s hosted by a reputable organization. Use trusted platforms when sharing personal information or payment and check the list of permitted events in the area.

"And if you’re not sure, you can contact your local law enforcement. We will be able to help you out with that," said Rogers. 

OPD said they haven’t been contacted by anyone who has fallen victim to the scam but if you did, they ask you to contact them to report it. 

FOX 35 News emailed the event organizer for comment but hasn’t heard back. 

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