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Woman loses life savings in bank scam

Police are looking for a man who allegedly posed as an undercover agent and stole a Lincolnton woman’s savings.
The suspect is described as a dark-skinned black man in his 40s with an average height and build. He worked with an accomplice, described as a black female, also in her 40s with average height and weight. They were driving an early ’90s model white car, possibly a Plymouth Acclaim.
On March 31 a 64-year-old Lincolnton woman, who police asked not be identified, said the man came to her door and knocked, said Detective Matt Painter with the Lincolnton Police Department. Not recognizing the man, she did not open the door.
She watched out her window as the man approached a neighbor and gestured toward her house, Painter said.
He turned around and came back to the victim’s home, showed a badge and identified himself as an undercover law enforcement agent.
The man told the woman he was working on a counterfeit check fraud case, Painter said. He showed the victim a photo of a young black female and asked if she knew her. The woman did not.
The suspect then told the victim that the woman in the photo had access to her account number and her money was in danger, Painter said.
The man convinced the woman to ride with him to the Bank of America where she did her banking. The female suspect was also in the car.
The female suspect went into the bank with the victim, who took all the money out of her checking and savings accounts — about $4,000. She did this under the impression that she was protecting her money, Painter said.
After they got back in the car, the man took the money and sealed it in a white envelope. He told the woman to hide the money in her house for safekeeping and handed her the envelope.
The woman told police the man then became slightly forceful with her, refusing to drive her all the way to her house and instead telling her to “get out here and walk,” Painter said.
Once she got inside, she began feeling suspicious.
She opened the envelope and found that it was filled with newspaper clippings and shreds. She called police.
Painter said no similar scams have been reported to police but he believes there could be more victims who are embarrassed or possibly have not even opened their envelopes.
“They knew what they were doing, so I’m sure that they’ve done it before,” he said.
Painter said residents who are unsure of anyone claiming to be a law enforcement officer should ask for photo identification. And never, he said, give your bank account information or money to anyone.
“No law enforcement officer, no matter which agency they work for, is going to ask you to take money out of your account,” he said.
Anyone with information about this crime should call 704-736-8900.by Alice Smith

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