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But I've Seen Him In Here Before!

...But I've Seen Him In Here Before!

There was a cartoon in the paper recently about the customer who went into the bank and said to the teller, "How come when I make a deposit it's 'Good morning! How are you today?' and it's 'Do you have any identification?' when I want to cash a check?"

Every now and then a teller will get "taken" because they think they "know" a customer when actually they have "seen them in here before."

After a teller waits on a customer several times, the face and/or the name becomes familiar to them. Tellers can be conned into doing something they shouldn't if they depend on face and name recognition, instead of using precautionary skills, or using standard verification policies.

A teller friend who unfortunately got caught in this trap and cashed a bad check shared with us the following story.

This particular customer came in frequently to make deposits into his account, always to my teller friend's window. One day he came in with a $9,000 check drawn on a non-local institution to be cashed.

As the amount of the check was beyond the teller's limit, the branch manager was approached to approve it. The manager asked the teller, "Do you know this customer?" The answer was that the customer was "well known" to the teller.

After the encashment of the check, they never saw the customer again. The check came back marked "Account Closed."

We keep hearing over and over?"Know your customer." Be sure you are aware of the difference between "Know" and "saw them in here before."

Copyright © 1990 Bankers' Hotline. Originally appeared in Bankers' Hotline, Vol. 1, No. 3, 3/90

First published on 03/01/1990

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