PINCKNEY, MI – The Pinckney Police Department is praising the efforts of a PNC Bank teller in taking prompt action in preventing the defrauding of a World War II military veteran.
According to Sgt. William Cook on Friday, January 2nd, 2015 at about 3:40 pm police were notified of a customer who had come in and commented about meeting with a sweepstakes official at 5:00 pm at the bank to claim his prize winnings. The bank employee became concerned that the man was being scammed and notified local police.
When the officer arrived at the bank he found the elderly man seated in his vehicle talking to the suspect on his cell phone. Police determined that the sweepstakes caller had already obtained account information to the man’s bank card.
Upon meeting with the bank teller, the victim and officer explained what had transpired on the phone with the suspect. Bank employees and police became concerned because the victim had provided the caller with the account number of his purchased debit card.
The bank teller attempted to withdraw the $500 from the debit card, but was unable to do so due to the card not being associated with a customer name. She then attempted to conduct an ATM transaction to recover the funds, but again was prevented from making the withdrawal because the ATM would not permit the transaction.
The bank employee then got online and made telephone contact with the debit card company. After spending over 30 minutes attempting to recover the gentleman’s money, the debit company first issued a hold and then invalidated the debit card and authorized a refund via U.S. mail of the victim’s money.
Pinckney Police credit the swift action of the bank teller in preventing the attempted fraud. Sgt. Cook stated that often these types of crimes are perpetrated against the elderly using pay as you go or throw away cell phones that are untraceable. Senior citizens are often singled out and instructed to purchase Green Dot or other types of cash debit cards that make it easy for criminals to transfer the innocent’s money and to cover their trail.
Chief Jeff Newton said “the efforts of this woman not only exemplify how our local merchants know their customers, but also how they seek to safeguard their interests in our community.” The police chief said this is a common scam and citizens should know that legitimate sweepstakes organizations do not require recipients to remit a payment for taxes and/or fees before being presented with their prize winnings.