Crimes at the teller window occur most often by a new account holder or by an impostor posing as someone else. The favorite location for this type of perpetrator is the drive-in. A quick getaway, in addition to the added distance between teller and customer, make the drive-in the ideal place for con artists to try new tricks. A quick getaway, in addition to the added distance between teller and customer, make the drive-in the ideal place for con artists to try their hand at stealing without a gun. These are just two of the motivating factors that prompt crooks passing as customers to use the drive-in to try the newest scam. For example, depositing stolen checks in a new account is one of the oldest tricks in the book still used by con artist today.
What should you look for? Always examine checks to be certain the payee name and the account holder name are exactly the same. If not, stop. Most likely you should not accept the check for deposit. Take this case for example: What would you do is someone opened an account six weeks ago under the name of John Cameron, and today, he comes through the drive-in to send in a check payable to Cameron for deposit?
When you inquire about the payee on the check the depositor says, “I have a small consulting business on the side and some of my clients send me checks payable just to ‘Cameron’. It happens all the time, it is no big deal. I just want to deposit it into my checking account.”
Do not accept this check for deposit without an officer’s initials. It is possible the customer’s story is legit; however it is also possible this is a case where checks payable to a business have been stolen. Perhaps the thief has access to the business and is stealing accounts receivable payments.
It could take weeks, even months, for the business to discover what is going on. In the meantime, the thief has deposited numerous checks amounting to thousands of dollars, withdrawn all the funds, closed the account, and moved on to another institution to pull his trick on another unsuspecting teller.
Essential Teller Issues covers fraud prevention and other key teller topics such as cross-selling and customer service. It’s the #1 teller training manual in the country! Every teller should have one!
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