Elderly victims are getting targeted in a phone scam that ends with the female caller showing up at the victim’s home, acting like a bank employee, and taking their debit cards complete with PIN numbers.
“I've never seen a pattern where they've actually gone to the victim's home,” Sgt. John Spoor with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said. “When they make contact with the victim that there is a problem with their debit or card credit and they will respond to their home and take their debit card and PIN number and have a new chip card sent to their home to help them prevent fraud occurring.”
The woman then takes the ATM card and steals cash. So far, three victims in Pinellas County and one victim in Hillsborough have lost thousands.
The woman who used the stolen debit cards was captured on store surveillance using one of the victim’s cards to withdraw money.
Investigators are working to determine if this is tied to a ring or just a one woman crime spree. And they are following up on leads to figure out how the elderly victims are targeted in the first place.
“Is it somebody in a bank providing information? We don't know. Is it somebody staying at a bank? Or getting a neighborhood phone book,” Spoor said.
Spoor said all of the victims were angry and embarrassed. But, since the woman knew their bank information they felt that the caller was a legitimate bank employee.
Investigators urge everyone to be on high alert and that bank employee’s will never make house calls to pick up your debit card.
Citizens are also encouraged to learn more about common scams in Pinellas County and how to avoid them during Fraud Awareness Week. Beginning Monday, November 14, 2016, through Friday, November 18, 2016, various forums and free shred events will be offered at various locations throughout the county.
Anyone with information on this scam is asked to call Detective J. Holden at the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office at (727) 582-6200 or to remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-873-TIPS or www.crimestoppersofpinellas.org.
Surveillance video of the suspect from the PCSO YouTube page can be viewed below: