Workers have sent thousands of dollars to the caller who was likely thousands of miles away. The FBI says the scam began in 2007 and is still continuing.
No bombs have been found at any of the locations and no injuries have been reported, however the calls have triggered store evacuations and checks of the businesses by emergency personnel.
Law enforcement officials say the caller claims to have a bomb and orders the store to send money to an account through a money transfer service like Western Union. The caller claims to be able to see inside the store, but officials believe he was making it up.
The caller has not been successful at every store he has called, but he has at many locations.
Businesses are encouraged to be aware of the extortion plot and to contact police if their business is called.
A variation of the scam occurred Monday at a Smithfield business. An overseas caller attempted to scam a 74 year-old employee but was unsuccessful. The caller then placed a second call to the business claiming there was a bomb. Smithfield Police checked the business and nothing was located, according to Police Captain R.K. Powell.