Monday, April 13, 2009

Did You Know…About the Bank Examiner Scam?

We all need to be aware and know how to outsmart dishonest people. Swindlers use an array of tools, including e-mails, letters, phone calls and face-to-face contacts to find their targets. These individuals can seem legitimate and be very convincing. That’s why CCSO wants to arm you with the information you need to keep from falling victim of a scam.

The bank examiner scam begins when the victim is contacted by someone claiming to be a bank official who is investigating an employee suspected of stealing.

This person asks the victim to help with the investigation by withdrawing money from the bank using a specific teller or station. The scammer arranges to meet the victim after the withdrawal. The scammer claims that the cash is needed for the investigation and takes it, promising to return it once the investigation is complete.

However, once the scammer is out of your sight, so is the victim’s money.

As a result of this scam, most victims typically lose up to $10,000. In local cases, it averages around $6,800.

One case involving this scam has been reported so far in 2009 in Collier County. CCSO investigated six bank examiner scam cases in 2008.

These scammers tend to target elderly people, mostly widows.

If you believe you or a loved could be a victim of this scam, please contact CCSO at 793-9300.

Once a scam occurs, investigators say details matter. A solid description of the thief and a phone number if the thief contacted the victim by phone can help solve the crime.

And remember: The best way to avoid becoming a victim of this or any scam is to use common sense. In this case, a legitimate bank examiner would not contact a customer asking for assistance.