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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Highway Patrol today is warning citizens of a phone fraud scam that has spread throughout Florida from Blountstown to Key West during the last two days.

Callers impersonating Florida Highway Patrol officers have been contacting banks and other financial institutions and advising bank personnel that one of their employees, usually the Chief Executive Officer, has been involved in a traffic crash and is enroute to a hospital.

The caller further advises that this crash has taken place in a location other than the city where the bank is based. The employee is advised that money is needed to pay for traffic citations arising from the crash and is further instructed to wire funds via American Express Moneygram or Western Union to the caller.

The impersonators have been armed with detailed information concerning the financial institutions and their officers. FHP investigators suspect that the callers have access to trade publications which contain this detailed information. Fraudulent calls have been received in the following locations during the past two days:

Miami Beach    West Palm Beach    Stuart

Indiantown     Port St. Lucie     Fernandina Beach

Tallahassee    Blountstown    Venice

Wauchula    Pinellas Park    Leesburg

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