Strongsville priest loses $4,500 after phone scam

STRONGSVILLE, OH (WOIO) - Father Dennis O'Grady began the day doing what he's done since 1961, presiding at morning Mass.

The 84-year-old priest said he was cheated out of $4500 in a phone scam.

O'Grady's troubles began when he got a phone call from a man identifying himself as a police officer, and saying a friend of the priest was in trouble after drinking and getting in an accident.

A second voice came on the phone and asked "do you know who I am?"

The priest thought he sounded like a friend named Richard.

"Sounded like a younger fellow and sounded a little bit intoxicated as he should have been if what they told me," O'Grady said.

By identifying the friend as Richard, O'Grady had been hooked and wanted to help.

He was told to go to Best Buy and purchase three $1500 gift cards which would take care of accident damage.

The priest went home and got another call with instructions for the cards.

"Turn them over and on the back scratch off the covering over the numbers and just give him the numbers of those that it would be replaced to me within so many days," O'Grady said.

After several days the priest said he became suspicious and asked Richard about it.

He was told he had not contacted O'Grady, so together they went to Best Buy but got no satisfaction.

Financial institutions are required to file what is known as a SAR a suspicious activity report on any suspicious transaction.

Best Buy is not a financial institution but Discover, O'Grady's credit card is.

Neither organization talked to the other and no SAR was filed.

The Strongsville Police Department is investigating the incident.

Police said this kind of thing happens all the time.

Best Buy offers advice how you can avoid being scammed.

Copyright 2017 WOIO. All rights reserved.