In this Issue:
Workplace Safety Issues for Security Managers
May 15 —
by Dana Turner
May 23 —
by Mary Beth Guard and Ken Golliher
We haven't added any new security related tools this month, but the tools section is a great free resource for whatever additional hats you may be wearing in addition to security, or you may find some tools that are of interest to a particular colleague.
Have you presented your board with your annual security program report? Whether you've done this before or this is your first year, check out the "Annual Security Program Report - How to Prepare" tool provided by BOL Guru Dana Turner.
Did we mention all these Banker Tools are FREE?! You can find these and more at the BOL Banker Tools page.
Networking and sharing information is an effective way to deter and apprehend bank robbers. Bookmark the FBI's roadmap to robbers https://bankrobbers.fgi.gov and share it with your branch security personnel and your peers.
R.I.O.T. - Robbery Investigators of Texas - Although the group was originally started for Texas investigators, several other states are now participating. Check them out and get all the details at www.robberyinvestigatorsoftexas.org.
in the Banker Store
101 Security Tips Booklet (download)
Personal Survival: 25 Rules To Live By
Skimmers & Hackers & Phishers…Oh My! Debit Card Fraud Loss
Welcome to the May issue of Security Spotlight
In this month's Security Spotlight, communication was the missing key in the unsuccessful outcome for two bank robbers, an often overlooked vault tip reminder may come in handy someday, and a shower of April CrimeDex alerts include an account takeover, card and ATM skimming, and a rather unusual theft.
Costly misprint - Kurtis Michael Culbert, 30, of Waterloo, IA made a costly mistake when he handed a U.S. Bank branch teller a note that read "This is a robbery, I have a weapon and I need $80." The teller complied with his demands and handed over the $80. Culbert left and was later arrested for the robbery. In a series of handwritten letters he submitted to the court, Culbert alleged that he robbed the bank against his will, claiming that former prison inmates he knew had threatened him and his family and ordered him to steal the money. According to Culbert, the alleged extortionists wanted $80,000 and gave him up to two years after his release from prison to do it. His nervousness, he said, caused him to make an error in omitting the zeros in his holdup note that demanded $80, not $80,000. Culbert pleaded guilty to second-degree robbery and faces up to ten years in prison with a seven-year mandatory minimum before he can be considered for parole. Those numbers on the court documents aren't a misprint.
A little misunderstanding - A successful bank robbery depends on the ability of a bank robber to make his demands clear - either in writing or verbally. Maurice Fearwell, 20, failed to get his message across not once, but twice, when he attempted to rob two separate banks in Washington, D.C. Fearwell left the SunTrust Bank empty-handed after handing a bank teller a note that simply read, "100s 50s 20s 10s" and uttered the single word "money." Confused by the note, the teller handed it back to Fearwell who attempted to clarify his request by adding the words "all mona" to the bottom of the note. Still not getting it, the teller told Fearwell she was unable to help him after which he turned and left the bank. Undaunted, Fearwell walked a few blocks to a Bank of America branch and approached another teller with the same confusing note. The teller thought he was a customer until Fearwell pointed at the note and verbally stated, "What's on that." Realizing then it was a holdup, the teller quickly alerted security and Fearwell fled the bank. He was apprehended by police three blocks away and taken into custody. The two counts of attempted bank robbery Fearwell was charged with were clearly stated to him.
Bank vs. Customer, Bandits & Bomb Threats, and Extreme Endings
Bank sues its customer for breach - We've been hearing more and more cases about businesses filing suit against banks for account takeovers and cyberheist losses. Park Sterling Bank is suing one its customers, Wallace & Pittman PLLC, for $336,000. The law firm fell victim to a phishing email that appeared to have come from NACHA. But it was actually a malicious email containing a keylogger that was installed on the infected computer. Funds were wired out from the firm's account and the firm notified the bank that there were unauthorized transfers intermingled with valid transfers. The bank gave them provisional credit to avoid overdrafts and gave the firm until the end of the month to repay it. At the end of the month, the firm went to court to prohibit any setoffs by the bank. The firm emptied its accounts and the case was dismissed. Now the firm maintains the bank reversed the fraudulent wire, that they do not owe this amount to the bank, and that the bank's internet banking security procedures are not commercially reasonable. The firm seems to be taking a page from the PATCO case alleging the UCC-4A requirements for security were not met. The bank seems to be leaning toward a page from the Choice Escrow suit and may allege the firm declined the use of dual controls on such transfers. While this case may take years to resolve through the courts, the firm isn't under financial pressure to seek a settlement since the bank had already made them whole, making this case somewhat more unusual than others.
Bomb threats: the latest bank robbery modus operandi - With the recent events at the Boston Marathon, even more attention is being given to suspicious packages and bomb threats. A Wells Fargo branch in Greenbrae, CA was robbed recently by a man who claimed to have a bomb. Thomas Hobson allegedly entered the bank and put a "pink substance" on the counter, which he stated was a bomb and would explode in five minutes. The branch was located in a busy shopping center, prompting the evacuation of several businesses until the bomb squad determined it was not a bomb. Hobson was arrested within an hour and is now facing charges of robbery, burglary, threatening a crime to terrorize and placing a false bomb, with bail set at $75,000 (which the courts set at its discretion but seems low to us).
On the opposite side of the country in New York, Matthew Chiles is accused of robbing the M&T Bank in Onondaga County with a pipe that had wires coming out of it. He threatened tellers with a display of the device, jumped the counter and emptied cash from the teller drawers, then fled. Unfortunately for Chiles, he was spotted and followed by retired sheriff's deputy Vern Doctor and Onondaga County District Attorney's Office Investigator Tim McCarthy and apprehended about 300 yards from the bank. Chiles is being held in lieu of $40,000 bond. The insignificant amounts of bail set in these two cases suggest that these cases are not being taken seriously enough by the court in CA and NY.
More bomb threat bandits - And in another case involving bombs as a modus operandi, Robert Shaw and Matthew Cosimini approached the drive-thru at a Regions Bank in Sanford, FL with a note sent to the teller requesting a withdrawal and claiming they had a bomb that would blow up the building if she did not comply. Following her security training, the teller gave them some cash and the two men fled. Police were in pursuit of the suspects within minutes after the robbery. After losing control of their getaway truck and hitting two vehicles, including a police cruiser, the bomb threatening bandits surrendered. The bomb squad found no explosives in the car. Shaw and Cosimini are at Seminole County Jail facing charges on robbery, aggravated battery and resisting arrest. Both were denied bail - that's the message we like to see sent to wanna-be bank bandits.
The positive aspect of these three cases involving bomb threats is that law enforcement quickly apprehended and arrested the suspects in each case. A contributing factor to those speedy resolutions was solid descriptions by bank staff and witnesses (even if they were law enforcement). Security officers should point out successful cases like these when conducting employee training on awareness before, during and after a robbery.
When a bank robbery turns violent - When three men armed with handguns and shotguns were exiting a Regions Bank in Atascocita, TX after pulling a heist, they were met by two men entering the bank to make a loan payment. The two men were off-duty Houston Police Department officers, one a 28-year veteran of the force and currently in the tactical unit. As the three robbers were attempting their escape in an SUV, they pointed a shotgun at the officers. One of the bandits was killed by the officers and was hanging partially outside the SUV when it crashed into a pillar. The other two suspects attempted to flee on foot but were apprehended by additional police officers responding to the call.
This branch was also located in a busy shopping center and thankfully no one other than the robber was injured. Again, law enforcement's quick response to this incident and helpful witnesses played a part in the robber's quick apprehension. If the bandits had tried to reenter the bank, this could have turned into a grim hostage situation. Bank staff needs to be trained on how to respond in these situations and how their actions can prevent robbers from coming back into the bank.
Self-inflicted sentence - The Macatawa Bank in Holland Township, MI was held up by an armed robber around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 23rd. The police had a description of the vehicle used by the robber when he fled. The next morning when the reported vehicle was spotted and stopped by police, they handled it as a felony stop and ordered the occupants to exit the vehicle. Three of the four occupants complied, but Edgar Martinez, the suspected bank robber, did not. Martinez put a gun to his head and shot himself inside the vehicle. He died at the hospital.
Hot Topics from Bankers' Threads
In the public accessible threads one banker has asked about reporting robberies to a bank's regulator - what has to be reported and when? As of this article being written, there hasn't been a response. Do you have one? You might be the first to reply, or may see subsequent responses. Weigh in on the discussion here, keeping in mind this discussion is in a public forum and should remain generic.
Additional discussions on updating employee forms, dye packs, visitors logs, training and more in the Public Security area.
We also have a "private" security forum for discussion of more private, sensitive topics. That is where security officers were discussing the Abington "morning glory" robbery mentioned in the security shorts section of this edition. Additional discussions are taking place on ID theft, security manuals, 314a matches and security procedures for the executive offices and more.
To comment in Bankers' Threads you must be a registered user. You can register here. If using your bank email account, you will be given access to the private forums. The Private area is a group of forums under the heading "Private - Financial Institution Personnel Only." The Private forums do not include access to Bankers Hotline or Compliance Action, premium content areas that require paid subscriptions to those respective publications.
If you are already registered for the Threads, but don't yet have access to the private forums, using your bank email address send a request for access to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please verify that you do not yet have Private access. Once your registration request is approved, you can access the Private Security forum here.
April brought a shower of CrimeDex Alerts
The snow may melt, and seasons may change, but fraud and other crimes just go on unabated. And that, of course, means that our inbox was replete with BOL Crime-Dex alerts again this month. One of the first was a request for help identifying a suspect in an account takeover in the state of Washington. Close on its heels came a request from the Secret Service for contact by financial institutions in the Kansas City area that had sustained credit card losses that could be linked to card skimming at an area Mexican restaurant. Several alerts from around the country reported on ATM skimming devices that had been detected, along with photos of the alleged scammers. But the alert that intrigued us the most this month had nothing to do with banks or banking. It was a request for help in identifying a thief from surveillance photos in a Walgreen's store in Wisconsin. The loot? Over $900 in razors!! To which our only response was, "Why?"
Whether you use them to pick up leads on fraud and other crime in your area, as training aids to illustrate the variety of ways that criminals operate, or for a humorous break ($900 in razors? Really?) in an otherwise ugly series of cases you'll use for training, BOL CrimeDex reports can be an invaluable tool in your Security Officer's "bag of tricks." Keep up on the latest scams, crimes and other threats facing your bank and other businesses with a free subscription to BOL CrimeDex
CrimeDex is now FREE to registered members of the Bankers' Threads
Private Security Forum! Get the details and subscribe now!
Are you following us on Facebook? Check us out for information that can be helpful to you in your role as a security officer (or one of the many other hats you may be wearing!) or information that you may want to share with colleagues and use in staff security training.
Our April 17th post concerns information security and potential identity theft. We've been reading a lot about malware infecting smartphones, and the latest QR code technology is one means these devices are being infected. After reading this post, you may want to warn your employees and customers about the risks.
It is likely that your bank provides ATM safety tips to your customers, but drive-thru ATMs are not always included. Read our April 29th post on ATM Safety Tips and see why it should be. Read about these topics and more on our Facebook page. Be sure to "like" the articles so we can continue to post more articles of interest to you!