Elderly woman reports bank fraud scheme

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 12, 2003

An 84-year-old woman was bilked of $7,600 last week in Austin.

According to an Austin Police Department report, the woman was contacted over the telephone in what Police Chief Paul M. Philipp called the "old bank examiner's scheme."

The woman claims a man called her Tuesday to say he was investigating a bank employee. The man asked her to withdraw $2,800 from the bank and then drive to the Austin Public Library parking lot with the money.

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The woman complied and when she got to the library parking lot, she gave the cash to the man, who took it and walked away.

When she returned home, she received a telephone call from the same man thanking her and asking her to perform a similar withdrawal from another bank where she had an account.

According to the police report, the woman, still believing the man was a bank examiner, went to the bank and withdrew $4,800. She also drove to the library parking lot a second time in the same day, met the man and handed over the cash.

For the second time in the same day, she received a telephone call from the man when she returned home thanking her for helping investigate the bank.

He also instructed her to wait three days at which time someone would come to her house and give her new bank account numbers.

When Friday arrived and the no one showed up at her house with new bank account numbers, the woman became suspicious and called police.

The suspect is described as a white male, 30 to 40 years of age, with medium build and neatly dressed.

The police chief reiterated a warning often repeated that no one should give out bank account, credit card or other financial information to anyone over the telephone.

The police chief praised the 84-year-old woman for coming forward and notifying authorities. He also said many other elderly victims of the fraud are "probably too embarrassed" to report the crimes.

Anyone with information about the current scheme is asked to call the Austin-Mower County law enforcement center at 437-9400.