February 3, 2017

Welcome to the February Issue of the Security Spotlight

Adult Protective Services

Each state has its own criteria for the intervention of Adult Protective Services. Before you are faced with an incident of elder fraud, send a bank officer to speak with your local Adult Protective Services unit. Obtain their guidelines for what proof the financial institution needs to have before the agency can intervene for financial fraud so that your risk management staff is prepared with the information needed to obtain their assistance.


Brazen bandit in Baltimore...To help deter and identify bank robbers, many banks have implemented a "No Hats, No Hoods, No Sunglasses" program. Since the policy is voluntary, not all customers will comply, especially in winter months when hats and hoodies are more prevalent. In the Baltimore, MD region, a brazen bandit is holding up banks wearing various styles of hats and sunglasses to conceal his identity. Dubbed the "winter hat" robber by the FBI, the suspect is believed to be responsible for nine bank robberies and one attempted bank robbery in just over a month. His first robbery took place at a Wells Fargo Bank branch in Catonsville on December 22. His latest heists involved an attempted robbery at the First National Bank in Ellicott City on January 19. When that didn't pan out, he robbed a BB&T Bank branch two buildings down just two minutes later. In all of his heists, he hands a note to the teller, implies he is armed, and demands money. No weapon has been seen and no one has been injured in any of the robberies – yet. Offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest, the FBI is asking for the public's help identifying the suspect before anything does go wrong. The winter hat bandit is described as a white male, about 45-55 years old, between 5'7" and 5'10" tall, with a medium build. Anyone with any information about the suspect or robberies should contact the Baltimore FBI at 410-265-8080.

Check our Bank Robbery page for photos and information on the latest unknown bank bandits, many of them with sunglasses, hats or other head and facial coverings disguising their identity. Enforcing a no hats, hoods and sunglasses policy can help reduce the number of bandits who target your bank. Purchase No Hat Cling signs for all of your branches from the Banker Store.

Hot Topics from the Bankers Forums

There were a few discussions in BankersOnline's public Security forum last month. One thread that carried over from December included BOL Guru Barry Thompson's input on the Bank Protection Act. Another thread discussed the pros and cons of ATMs serviced under single or dual controls. Check out these discussions, and more here.

You'll find active discussions on more sensitive security topics in our "Private Security Forum," where bankers discuss issues out of public view. There's also a private forum that invites participation by bankers, regulators and members of law enforcement.

The private forums are the place for security officers to discuss topics like fraud management software, daily transactions triggering SARs – or not, FinCEN advisories, and more. If you're a registered user of BOL's Discussion Forums, but don't see the Private - Financial Institution Personnel Only forums near the top of the Forums list, use your bank email address to send an access request to brenda@bankersonline.com. Once your request is approved, you can access the Private Security forum here.

CrimeDex Alerts

Over 450 CrimeDex alerts to start the year

BOL CrimeDex subscribers had a busy January. Our unfiltered CrimeDex inbox received over 450 alerts. Subscribers can filter the alerts they receive by region to focus on scams, robberies and other activity in their area, and pull down alerts in other regions to locate real-world examples that can be used in security training sessions. During the month:

  • Allegiance Bank (Texas) posted an alert concerning counterfeit checks being used in a "less cash" deposit scheme.
  • Fifth Third Bank warned of two suspects using stolen credit cards to make multiple withdrawals of $380 cash at ATMs in Florida.
  • Velocity Community Credit Union (Florida) reported that counterfeits of its official checks are being used to scam legitimate online sellers on sites like OfferUp.
  • The Stafford County, Virginia, Sheriff's Office sought assistance from other law enforcement agencies or financial institutions in connection with a fraudulent investment scheme.
  • A Wisconsin bank circulated an alert concerning counterfeit BestBank official checks in amounts from $1,000 to $58,000 used in an employment/secret shopper scam.
  • Police in Fuquay Varina, NC, sought information on a card cracking scheme in which the purported victim provided her online bank login and password, and mailed her debit card with PIN, to a suspect in Illinois. The scam appears to have been carried out via Facebook.
  • South Carolina law enforcement announced they had recovered a pinhole camera and skimming device from a credit union ATM, and sought assistance in identifying a suspect, who has placed other skimmers on stand-alone ATMs in the state in the last several months.
  • A San Diego, CA, sheriff's office investigator posted a request for additional information concerning a Craigslist rental housing scam that victimized a traveling nurse looking for a short-term rental in the city.
  • Investigators in Pennsylvania sought assistance in locating fraudulent accounts established in the names of two victims with intellectual disabilities.

Consider starting off 2017 on the right foot with a free BOL CrimeDex membership. If you have access to our private forums, read the "CrimeDex Service FREE" notice in the second thread of the "Private - FI Personnel Only" forum.

Facebook Blog
Throughout the month, we share news-related incidents on Facebook that can be informative examples for training employees on security issues and more. January posts included internal fraud, an unusual getaway plan, interesting stats, and more. Visit our Facebook page to catch up on the following posts:

  • Have you ever had an unruly customer say, "Do you know who I am?" Our January 2 post shows how anybody, even a mayoral candidate, can progress from lawful citizen to domestic violence to bank robbery.
  • Placement of surveillance cameras in branches may be aimed to capture staff or customers – but not usually both. A robbery story we posted on January 2 shows what type of photos you get when cameras are pointed at staff.
  • Should bank officers have the ability to waive internal controls or circumvent them? In our January 5 post read an example of how a senior bank officer's doing so contributed to a $1.8M loss.
  • On January 9 we posted about the trial of a violent armed robber who stated during an interview: "I go in there for the money, and then if they want to fight me then I shoot 'em down." This is a prime example of why training is so important.
  • Bank robberies can be bizarre at times, but the robber who streamed his getaway live on social media, and gave the money to anyone willing to grab it, is definitely unique. Check out our January 11 post for the story.
  • And the methods bank robbers use to get away can vary. Check out our January 16 post on the San Antonio bank robber who fled the scene on a bicycle.
  • Our January 18 post highlights some FBI bank robbery statistics and interesting disguises.
  • Some additional robbery statistics, including social media's role in deterring crime, are shared in our January 23 post.
  • While many bank robberies are not well-planned, another January 23 post shows how the ones that are can be very frightening.
  • Following a robbery, most banks evaluate how they could have improved security to prevent a robbery in the first place. If your bank is robbed again, as was the case in our January 24 post, you might take an even harder look at your security measures.
  • On January 26, we shared an excellent training video on counterfeit currency, and why it's a good idea to follow many government agencies on social media.
  • And our final post of the month on January 27 is a warning for your customers about callers recording their voices to be used to commit fraud.
Read about these and other informative topics on our BOL Facebook page. Be sure to "Like" the articles so we can continue to post more articles of interest to you, and share our page with your fellow Security Officers and bankers, and ask them to "Like" us so they too can stay updated on the latest news!

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