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Men posing as bank investigators swindle seniors

ALBANY – Police are searching for two men who posed as bank investigators to steal $17,000 from two senior citizens.

In one incident, an 81-year-old Albany woman received a phone call on April 16 from the suspects and was told her assistance was needed in an investigation against a teller at the Trustco Bank on Madison Ave.

The woman told CBS 6 she is usually suspicious, but was convinced they were real because they had detailed personal and banking information about her. The woman declined an on-camera interview with CBS 6 because detectives told her speaking with the media could compromise the investigation.
Police said the man asked her to withdraw $6,400 from the bank and had her meet with a second fake investigator at the corner of S. Main Ave and Madison Ave to turn over the cash under the premise she’d get it back a few days later.

“About six hours after that call she received another call from the same suspect telling her she did such a great job in that investigation they needed her assistance in the investigation into a teller at the Trustco bank on Wolf Road [in Colonie],” said Ofc. Steve Smith with the Albany Police Department.

Again, the woman went to the bank and withdrew $4,800 from a suspected teller. She then turned over the money to a man in the Colonie Center parking lot.

On April 19 she returned to the Trustco Bank on Madison Ave to meet the investigators, but they never showed. After waiting an hour, employees asked her if she needed assistance and police began investigating.

Colonie Police are also investigating a similar incident involving the Bank of America on Albany-Shaker Road. In that case, a 91-year-old woman was contacted on April 17 and withdrew $5,800 from her account as part of a fake investigation into a teller. After turning over the money to a second person nearby, she was told she would be contacted to get a new checkbook and about an arrest, but never did and called police.

Police were unable to provide a detailed description of the suspects, but said banks never use customers to investigate bad employees and to be skeptical of any unsolicited phone call.

“What's scary is that they did have her home phone number and some personal information,” said Smith. “Both women are elderly. Ours is 81 the Town of Colonie is 91 so there's concern there.”