A Broward County man is being accused of posing as a banker, telling an elderly couple that they were the victims of fraud, and then defrauding them of $17,000 according to the Palm Beach Sheriff’s Office. Police say that Samuel Jean Renel Charles managed to collect the credit and debit card numbers of an unsuspecting older couple and then proceeded to extract $17,000 from their accounts. He and one other alleged accomplice went on a $17,000 shopping spree with their newfound wealth. Charles is still in jail as his bail has been set at $158,000.
How Did the Scam Work?
The victims are not being identified at this time, but an 82-year-old man received a phone call from a woman who said she was with Bank of America’s anti-fraud department. The woman told him that two of his debit cards and two of his credit cards had been used illegally. She told the man that the individual had been caught, but she needed some personal information. This information included the PINs for each of the cards. The woman said that someone would drop by their house to pick up the cards.
The fraudsters then used the information to extract large sums of money from the couple’s account and purchase several items.
Charles is charged with one count of burglary, seven counts of using fraudulent personal identification, and 17 counts of grand theft from a person aged 65 or older.
The police report names another accomplice who is also a man. As of yet, no one had been able to identify the woman who reached out to the couple to tell them about the fraudulent fraud that had taken place on their credit cards.
Protecting Yourself Against Fraud
If you have been the victim of some kind of fraud, the bank is not going to ask you for your personal identification number. They will probably contact you over the phone or through email to tell you that a suspicious transaction has occurred. They will then give you the opportunity to contact their fraud department to determine whether or not the transaction was legitimate or whether or not someone else made the purchase. They will not show up your home to collect the cards and they will not ask you for your card’s PIN.
Older folks, who are less technologically savvy, are the prime targets of fraudsters in cases like these. It is unclear why the defendant is being charged with burglary, but if he entered the couple’s home to secure their cards, it would explain how he was able to use it at several ATMs.
Talk to a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Attorney
If you’ve been charged with fraud or other crimes relating to the use of false identification or personal information, then you need an attorney who can protect you from being overcharged for these crimes. Contact the West Palm Beach criminal attorneys at the Skier Law Firm, P.A. today for more information.