In this Issue:
MasterCard and Reg E: Basic Debit Card Investigations
October 15 —
by Brian Crow
October 16 —
by Brian Crow
November 5 —
by David McGuinn
in the Banker Store!
101 Security Tips Booklet
More Security Products
in the Banker Store
Security: Some Assembly Required
Workplace Safety Issues For Security Managers
Online Banking Security: How Crooks Get Around It
Welcome to the October issue of Security Spotlight
In this month's Security Spotlight, a decorated hero and a former veteran take criminal paths. Get tips for securing your ATMs from theft and fraud, and another tip from Barry Thompson on responding to bomb threats. Seniors were the targets reported in September CrimeDex scams, and incidents highlighted this month in our Facebook blog provide several examples useful for training.
A Hero Gone Rogue - A decorated former police officer who served as a student resource officer at a local high school and was officer of the year in 2002 went from a respected hero to a rogue bandit. In a brazen heist, Alvin Brook, wearing a baseball cap and bandana, entered an M&I Bank branch in June 2010, ordered the bank employees into the vault area and pointed his department-issued Glock handgun at their heads. He took $54,000 and threatened to kill the employees if they pushed any buttons or tried to follow him. After the robbery, the victims told investigators that the suspect seemed to have military or police training, had a gun very similar to the investigators, and carried some type of walkie-talkie or scanner in his pocket, over which the victims heard "police chatter." Surveillance video showed an antenna extending from the suspect's pocket.
Read more about the path this former hero gone rogue took that resulted in a nine-year prison sentence followed by ten years of supervised release, the actions that led to his arrest, and the ramifications his actions had on the bank.
Donations for a Defense - Most criminals declare their innocence right up until the time of their arrest or conviction. After Michael Winston II, 27, attempted to rob a Bank of America in Parkland, his accomplice (who happens to be his wife) not only declared his innocence, she launched an online plea for money to help with his defense while the police were searching for their suspect. Winston's planned heist went awry when an armored car driver noticed him wearing sunglasses, a fake beard, hat, and gloves and acting suspiciously outside the bank. Winston pointed a gun at the guard, who shot him. The bleeding suspect limped to his getaway car and was assisted into the vehicle by the woman driving. They took off, without any cash. Winston's wife started an online fundraising account, contending her husband was a victim of racial profiling, was at the bank "to open an account," and that the guard tried to murder him. In her desperate plea for donations, Mrs. Winston stated that her husband "was not a bank robber and she was not a getaway driver." She further stated that Winston is an Army vet and that "he likely forgot" he had a weapon on him. Winston was discharged from the military for misconduct after serving just over a year. Mrs. Winston's efforts to raise more than $200,000 to help her husband fight the charges netted less than $100 in donations. Both Mr. and Mrs. Winston are charged with attempted first-degree robbery.
Old-school Tech and ATMs as Targets
Old-school tech still works - Many people consider dye packs old-school technology, but they can still be very effective. When the Webster Bank in Rye, NY was robbed, the thief was given a dye pack that activated as soon as he exited through the back door. Perhaps it was the dye, the heat or the unwanted attention, the bandit abandoned the bag of money at an adjacent parking lot and continued his getaway. A man matching the suspect's description was later seen in a parking lot changing his clothes and scrubbing his arms.
Trapped and dyed - Earlier in the month a Citizens Bank branch in Philadelphia was robbed. Also in this case, a dye pack was passed on to the thief. But in this case, the bank had a "man trap" and when the bandit reportedly "tried to leave with the bag of money he got locked between two sets of doors and the dye pack exploded." It may have been more than just the dye pack that stopped him, but it certainly clearly pointed out the perpetrator.
Identifying marks - Dye packs played an important part also in the capture of the man featured in our first Facebook Blog entry for September (see below) who is accused of murder and bank robbery. As the case against Ty Hoffman builds, it's been noted that he was trying to exchange dye-stained money from the robbery for unstained cash through casino slot machines prior to his arrest on September 11th. At the time of his arrest, he still had dye-stained money in his possession and burns and red marks on his back consistent with a dye pack exploding near him. He also had a claim ticket to his backpack stored at the casino where he was trying to launder the stolen money.
Securing an ATM - Several incidents this month highlight that it's not only customers at risk of thefts at ATMs, but the device itself is a target. Houston PD arrested Ray McHenry for criminal mischief for using a blowtorch to break into an ATM at 2 a.m. Because he had a prior record his bond was set at $160,000. And in Jacksonville, FL a man stole a $135,000 forklift from a construction site and attempted to remove an ATM at Synovus Bank. An employee flagged down police when the ATM was discovered severely damaged, and the abandoned forklift was found in the bank's drive-up. The would-be thief was unsuccessful in getting the ATM open even after repeated crashes with the forklift. And finally, in and around Los Angeles two men have been arrested for ATM robberies at Chase ATMs. The two used power tools to cut into the ATMs and expose the safe areas. They then attached a rope or chain to the door attached to a truck to yank it out. The pair was responsible for ATM thefts totaling nearly $500,000.
Hot Topics from the Bankers' Threads
As security issues heat up we've seen a noticeable absence of discussions of security issues in the Public Security area. More of the discussions, for risk management and confidentiality reasons, has moved to the private area where we have a forum for bankers only on security topics, and another that allows law enforcement and regulators access.
We also have a "private" security forum for discussion of more private, sensitive topics. That is where security officers were discussing reliance on motion sensors instead of clearing the bank each morning, signing for keys and maybe for combinations, the cost of defending the bank vs. being sued for checks a hooker cashed, larceny, 314a lists, backup SOs, 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 email@example.com. Please verify that you do not yet have Private access. Once your registration request is approved, you can access the Private Security forum here.
September Scams Target Seniors
Officials in Brevard County, Florida, issued an early September alert attempting to identify a woman using fraudulent ID documents to withdraw $5,000 from a victim's account in Melbourne, Florida. Counterfeit official checks were reported by the Far East National Bank, Los Angeles, California; Citizens Bank & Trust, Kansas City, Missouri; Southland Credit Union (reported by Citibank); Wescon Credit Union, Pasadena, California; Digital Federal Credit Union, Marlborough, Massachusetts; and others.
Ankeny, Iowa police posted an alert about two suspects who have been distracting elderly female shoppers, stealing their wallets and using their credit cards to buy electronics and prepaid gift cards. The two suspects are reportedly part of a small ring from New York. And our "lowlife of the month" award goes to the suspect in an alert from Montgomery County, Maryland, police about bogus calls to an elderly individual claiming that her family member needed cash bail money to be sent to an "attorney" in Florida.
BOL CrimeDex subscribers can send and receive alerts that can be instrumental in solving or preventing scams, robberies, fraud and other crimes. Information from CrimeDex alerts can be great object lessons to share with customers in financial institution newsletters or with employees in security training.
CrimeDex is now FREE to registered members of the Bankers' Threads
Private Security Forum! Get the details and subscribe now!
Throughout the month, we share news related incidents on our Facebook page that can be informative examples for training employees on security issues and more.
When faced with a robbery in progress, the golden rule is to meet the robber's demands and get them out of the bank as quickly as possible. In a case like the one featured in our first entry for September, this is would be particularly applicable when the suspect standing across from the teller may have just killed two people.
Not all financial crimes involve physical bank robberies. Our September 5th entry reports an increase in spam and the increasing focus on financial institutions. Just as Willie Sutton robbed banks because "that is where the money is," hackers operate on the same premise. It's important to stay up on these cybercrime trends and keep your bank and customers informed - and protected.
On September 8th, Dana Turner alerted us to a thief dubbed the "AK-47 bandit" who is expanding his territory. He is well out of California now. Where will he strike next?
While sometimes a bank robbery is almost "comical," such as the one highlighted in our September 13th post about the guy who couldn't carry away the money he stole, many times they are very serious. Such as the heist in our second post from that same day describing a Zions Bank robbery that led to a kidnapping and resulted in the suspect's death. Any bank robbery can be a traumatic event for bank staff and customers. Also on that busy September 13th day, we shared a story that involved money laundering and the seizure of $65 million. You don't want to miss any of these stories.
Keep up with 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!