Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Bail Phone Scam

It's a money scam we told you about last week, but since then more local businesses have fallen prey to the scammers pretending to be bail bondsmen.

Officials tell us the suspects are difficult to trace since they mainly work through the telephone. There was a breakthrough today.

This Panama City beach bakery manager says she didn't think twice when asked to help one of her employee's out of jail. Now Misty Reyes is short $500, intended for a good deed.

Misty Reyes, the Bakery Manager, says, "I'm glad that nothing happened to her and I'm glad that's all that happened cause it's just money and it's not worth somebody's safety."

Reyes says the detailed information they fed her over the phone was more than convincing.

Panama City Beach and Bay County officials say the common denominator between all these scams is they are all targeting restaurants everything from high class restaurants to mom and pops to even franchises.

Officials tell us phone scammers are usually difficult to trace. But the good news is Bay County investigators found this security video of a suspect entering a store to pick up a money order.

Pineapple Willy's fell prey to the same scam. A person claiming to be a bail bondsmen needing $500 to release their server from jail.

Eric Buskell, the owner of Pineapple Willy's, says, "We're more vulnerable than we thought we were so you improve your systems that's why when things like this happen you step up and look at it and how you can improve the systems."

Reyes says the incident's forcing her and the staff to be more careful about what they say and who they say it to.

Reyes adds, “It's a little bit scary it's a little bit creepy to know that someone knows this much about you and you have no idea who they are and why they know this much."

One of the restaurant managers we spoke to today is removing the last names off their employees name tags. If you have any information on the crime or recognize the suspect you are asked to call 785-TIPS.

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