News from BSO

PHONY BANK EXAMINER SCAM GETS PERSONAL

BSO Case Number: PB02-04-3911
PIO Number: 01-4-14
Date: April 9, 2002
Time: 2 p.m.
Place of Occurrence: Pompano Beach

Victim(s):

  • 1. Name withheld, female, 86, Pompano Beach
  • 2. Name withheld, male, 75, Pompano Beach

Suspect(s):

  • unknown male, about 60 years old

Description of Incident:

The Broward Sheriff's Office is warning residents not to fall for a police-impersonating con artist, passing himself off as a BSO official while swindling folks out of their life savings.

The unknown suspect is using the “bank examiner scam,” which is one of the oldest scams known to investigators, but he has added some personal touches to make it more believable. In the “bank examiner scam” the con artist telephones people and tells them he is investigating a teller at their bank. He needs them to go to their bank, withdraw thousands of dollars, then turn it over to him so it can be counted and used in the investigation. Of course, when the cooperative and civic-minded victim turns over their money they never hear from the phony investigator again.

On Tuesday, a 75-year-old man and an 86-year-old woman both got phone calls from someone saying he was a BSO lieutenant, calling on behalf of Chief Rick Frey –a veteran BSO supervisor well known in the Pompano area. To prove the call was legitimate, the caller suggested that each person hang up and immediately dial 911 and ask for Chief Frey. Unbeknownst to the victims, the caller obviously stayed on the line and immediately answered when the three digits were “dialed.” The phony Chief Frey then went through the spiel about how we need help to catch a crooked bank teller and need them to turn over their cash.

The elderly man became suspicious and called BSO. Unfortunately, the 86 year-old woman followed instructions and withdrew $9,000 in cash, turning it over to “Chief Frey” in the parking lot of a Winn Dixie store in the 3500 block of N. Federal Highway in Pompano Beach. Her money and the bogus Chief Frey disappeared.

Another elderly man received a call this morning but he immediately said he didn’t believe the caller and was going to call the sheriff’s office. The caller never called again.

The suspect is described as a white man, about 60 years old, 5’11” and 160 pounds, with gray hair, eyeglasses, wearing a suit and a fedora style-hat, with a badge clipped to his belt. Anyone with information regarding this suspect or this scam is urged to call Detective Mitch Gordon at 954-786-4280 or CrimeStoppers at 954-493-TIPS.

The Broward Sheriff's Office reminds citizens that real investigators will never ask them to withdraw money from their accounts.

INVESTIGATORS:
THIS REPORT BY: Det. M. Gordon, Chief R. Frey Jim Leljedal / PIO 4/10/02 2:30 p.m.

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