Even though this scam has been around for years, many well meaning good citizens fall prey to the heartless criminals behind it. Criminals who take advantage of the elderly are despicable. A lot of scams work on the human weakness of greed like the pigeon drop. The Bank Examiner scam works on the honest citizen who wants to be of assistance in apprehending a thief.
One of the “operators” contacts a potential victim and tells them he is a bank examiner and a teller at the victims bank is suspected of stealing. The victim is asked to assist in the investigation. Of course, being a good citizen, the victim is all too happy to cooperate. The victim is asked to withdraw a sum of money from their account and give it to the bank examiner, who will mark the money and use it to trap the dishonest teller. The victim will be given a worthless receipt and advised their money will be returned as soon as they complete the investigation. The victim will never see their money again.
These con artists are really good at what they do and are extremely convincing. My first year on the job as a police detective I recall standing at the door of a potential victims residence with my Lieutenant trying to convince this woman that we were police officers and that we wanted to talk to her about a possible scam that was being perpetrated on her. We had been notified by a very “heads up” bank manager that this woman had withdrawn a large sum of money and was acting in a suspicious manner. The “operator” had convinced the woman not to talk to anyone about the investigation and he had done a really good job. Even after showing her our badges through the peep hole, it took about 20 minutes to convince her that she needed to talk to us as she was about to become a victim.
We were finally allowed in and we advised her of the scam we believed she was unwittingly involved in. She told us she had withdrawn a large sum of money as directed and was waiting to hear from the bank examiner for further instructions. We set up a recorder on her phone and I stayed in her residence waiting for the call. The suspect called and the first thing he said was “let me talk to the police officer”. Luckily I was monitoring the call and signaled her not to acknowledge there was a police officer there.
This woman was one of the few who escaped victimization by this scam gang. They very rarely are caught because they don’t stay in any city too long. They strike and move on to the next area.
The case went to the Grand Jury where I was able to make a voice identification of the suspect and a warrant was issued. This suspect was part of a group whose home base was in Canada but they travel all over.
Be sure to tell your older friends and relatives to contact the police if they are ever approached by anyone claiming to be a police officer or bank examiner requesting their assistance in any investigation of a bank employee. Police Officers and Bank Examiners will NEVER ask them to withdraw money and turn it over to them. Don’t give the crooks an even break.