In this Issue:
The Beginning Security Officer
January 29 —
by Barry Thompson
"Over 40 Million Reasons" to Follow Proper Safe Deposit Procedures
February 18 —
by Dave McGuinn
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Don't Be a Money Mule®
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101 Security Tips Booklet
Security: Some Assembly Required
Online Banking Security: How Crooks Get Around It
Welcome to the January issue of Security Spotlight
In this month's Security Spotlight, bearded bandits are on the lam, an increase in secret shopper and other scams were reported by CrimeDex during the holiday season, and a surprisingly low number of alerts and counterfeits were released in 2013. Check out an exclusive new product offered by a BOL Guru that can help you protect your customers from falling victim to money mule scams.
An unexpected visit — Kris Kringle visited the SunTrust Bank in Port Orange, FL on Christmas Eve bearing a brightly wrapped present. But the bearded man was not the beloved St. Nick known to boys and girls around the world as Santa Claus, the present was anything but a gift, and instead of bringing a bag of goodies, "Santa" left the bank with a bag full of loot. The man who donned the red suit and white beard remains at large and is wanted by local authorities for holding up the bank. Maybe Port Orange police should check the North Pole.
Bad Santa dons bad disguise — In Laurel, MD, wearing a black jacket and dark winter hat, a bearded not-so-jolly fellow entered the PNC Bank a few days before Christmas wielding a gun, fired a shot (no injuries were reported) and then fled the bank with his ill-gotten gains. Local police reported the bad Santa got in, got his loot and got out quickly. Laurel police have established a tip line and are asking anyone who may have information about the robbery or the suspect to call the police or the tip line. NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) was too busy tracking the real Santa Claus to get a lead on this Kringle crook. Hopefully an observant elf will contact authorities with bad Santa's whereabouts.
Volatile, Multiple and Unusual Bandits
Who are you dealing with? - The phrase "routine traffic stop" often used by police officers is a complete misnomer - more often than not there is nothing "routine" about it. This point was driven home in the recent national news story of Mario Garnett. Garnett allegedly robbed a bank in Atlanta, GA on a Monday and drove 300 miles to Tupelo, MS, where he robbed another bank. During the second robbery, one police officer was killed and another wounded. Garnett then continued to drive west to Phoenix, AZ and commit a third bank robbery. While attempting to flee, he was confronted by police and fatally shot. Further investigation into Garnett following his death revealed that he was released from prison about five months earlier in Oklahoma, where he served time for threatening the life of President Barack Obama in 2010, and had been ordered to receive mental health treatment. Unlike many "glorified" TV and movie robberies, bank employees and customers must be mindful that bank robbers are dangerous, they may be armed even when no weapon is visible, and could have psychological issues as well. The goal should always be to get them out of the bank as quickly as possible and let the police handle their pursuit and apprehension.
14 banks in 14 days - One bank robbery in your area is one too many. But in the Washington, D.C. area, there were fourteen reported bank robbery or robbery attempts in as many days. It is unknown if these incidents are connected. In some cases there were multiple suspects while some banks reported just one bandit. In the majority of the heists, no weapon was shown. In the few instances that guns were displayed, only one reported shots fired, with no injuries. The robbers in these cases wore hats or wrapped scarves around their faces to disguise their identities. Perhaps the "no hats, no hoods" policy should also include exposing one's face so the teller can hear the person, and the camera can see them! A Citibank teller in one of the attempted heists didn't respond to the robber's demands and he left empty handed. While that worked out well in this case, that isn't the recommended action. Whether the attempts are successful or not, fourteen robberies in two weeks is definitely fourteen too many.
The O2 bandit - To avoid being identified, bank robbers generally don disguises that don't stand out, and can be removed quickly. However, a bank robber in Denver, CO, apparently didn't follow that protocol. A man authorities have dubbed "the O2 bandit" wore a medical mask and carried a portable oxygen tank when he robbed three banks in the Denver area. Police are uncertain if the oxygen tank is part of the thief's disguise or a medical necessity. The Denver police and the FBI are hoping to get some help from local citizens through their regional Crime Stoppers website.
You may have noticed we are doing our analysis of the Alerts and Counterfeit items less often. That is because there are so few these days but we do want you to see how these numbers look for 2013 compared to the past. Over past 12 months, the agencies sent only 23 total Alerts and Counterfeit item notices. We were well into the second quarter before we received our first notification on April 29, 2013. There were two received that day. Then there were between two and five each month thereafter with the exception of October which was quiet and had none. May was the busiest month with five notices.
Counterfeit and Alert notices were based on reports in only 14 states. Florida was the busiest with five notices from banks there. In this analysis it should be noted that while there were less than two notices per month, at 23 notices for the year, this was an increase of nearly 77 percent overall as 2012 had only 13 notices sent. 2011 had 31 but if you fall back 5 years to 2008 there were 244 reports. The decline is significant but the reasons are really unknown. We took an unofficial poll as to why the drop in reports is seen and the responses ranged from "the methods of thefts have shifted," to "the regulators are busy on other things and simply do not pass on all the notices given to them."
You can review the individual alerts on the BOL Alerts & Counterfeits page.
Cash advance, new account and secret shopper scams and more
Each month we highlight some of the alerts sent out to BOL CrimeDex subscribers by fellow bankers, merchants, law enforcement and others. Subscribers can filter the alerts to make those they receive more relevant. Cash advance scams continue to victimize banks whose tellers haven't yet been trained sufficiently to thwart this easily prevented fraud. An alert from the U.S. Secret Service early last month cites two similar cash advance scams being conducted in Idaho and Virginia, with a possible national reach. Both of these scams involve the use of the "cardholder's" cell phone and a confederate pretending to be the card issuer. A bizarre alert from the Los Angeles area warned of a purported psychic who victimized a disabled woman, defrauding her of $220,000 in cashier's checks and forging her name as a co-signer to purchase a luxury car. A Pennsylvania bank posted an alert on a pair of new account fraudsters who have apparently been moving from state to state opening accounts with worthless checks. The Kroger Company posted an alert about fraudulent checks purporting to be issued by Kroger apparently used in connection with a bogus offer of employment as a "quality control specialist" for the company -- a variation on the many "secret shopper" scams of the past.
Many of the CrimeDex alerts include photos of suspects or of phony checks, along with detailed descriptions of the scammers and their actions. You can use this information both to help prevent your staff from being duped and as real life examples for security training sessions.
Each month's BOL CrimeDex alerts can provide your financial institution with fresh examples of crimes that can be used to bring reality to security training presentations.
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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. On December 4, we passed on a warning from the FBI regarding a new scheme referred to as a "man-in-the-email" attack that bankers and customers should be on guard against. Our December 13 post provides information you can use when employees complain about the tedious opening procedures they have to go through. This is a good example to use in training when your employees respond to opening procedures with "but why do we have to...?"
Be sure too, to check out our Tech Talk stories that have more than technology behind them. There was information on ATM fraud, Target's data breach and more. Catch up on 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!