Extra Caution Necessary as Criminals Modify Theft Tactics
Criminals are becoming more agile and innovative in their efforts to steal large sums of money. As always, banks must stay alert for anomalies and other indications that suggest something is “off.”
One recent case began with the deposit of a sizeable sum by an unfamiliar party in the form of a check drawn on a Canadian bank. Shortly thereafter, a large wire transfer request was made. The depository bank, based in the U.S., sent the wire to the foreign account believing that the Canadian check had cleared. The check was, in fact, counterfeit, and the payee incurred a large loss.
While the example above pertains to a wire transfer, it’s important to recognize fraud and theft can occur across all payment channels. A payment might start out as a check, for instance, and end up as an ACH.
Regardless of the specific tactics used by criminals, many attempts at large-dollar thefts share some “red flag” characteristics. These could include sudden changes in business practices; outgoing funds from a recently opened account; a heightened sense of urgency on the part of the sender; or inability to complete a two-step verification process. Thorough staff training and frequent review of bank processes and procedures is absolutely essential to protecting your bank. In addition, we recommend that all bank employees be educated on the Financial Fraud Kill Chain as well as the circumstances under which it can be implemented.