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#49397 - 12/18/02 02:46 PM Stalling tactics
JacF Offline

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Those of us blessed with security duties have all had the opportunity to instruct the branches to 'stall the customer and call the police' during fraudulent transactions. Yesterday, I had a branch that almost ran out of ways to stall the bad guy before police arrived so I thought a discussion of stalling tactics could benefit all of us.
Of course, the obvious ones such as needing to get more cash from the vault work well. And we also used the 'we need to scan your ID to update our records' one, but after that, we were hard pressed to come up with ideas.
What methods have the rest of you been able to use successfully?

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#49398 - 12/18/02 03:01 PM Re: Stalling tactics
Anonymous
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We tell the customer that we need to get officer approval due to the amount of the check. We also post that we have 15 minute time delay on our vaults, which works well. If all else fails and he/she leaves, at least you did not suffer a loss and can always alert your branches, close the acct., etc.

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#49399 - 12/18/02 03:02 PM Re: Stalling tactics
BANNED BY BOL MANAGEMENT Offline
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Just don't do it - that's my advice.

If you would not stall a bank robber, why would you stall someone that's working a paper scam? Isn't the risk virtually the same? Is the person on drugs, do they have a gun?

So police come in, based on your call, and everyone in the bank is at risk - that cannot be a good thing. Of course, don't transact the business, take that person's picture and then report it to the police, as appropriate.

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#49400 - 12/18/02 03:39 PM Re: Stalling tactics
JacF Offline

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I'm not sure I see the risk as being the same. Every crook knows that violent crimes result in tougher jail sentences than non-violent crimes, and that is why those that rip the banks off with 'paper guns' choose the methods that they do. The armed robber wants to get in and out as quickly as possible. The fraudster wants to blend in as much as possible, and therefore is much less likely to become violent. I'm not saying it can't happen, as I have seen customers become violent over quite trivial matters- but I don't think the risk is even close to the point where you want to let them get away.

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#49401 - 12/18/02 04:06 PM Re: Stalling tactics
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You have a point, but what if you are wrong, say 1 out of 10 times? At the point you are talking about, no money has changes hands, why take any risk?

Maybe I watch too much TV, so many paper scams go south and as far as I'm concerned, I never want to create a situation that has the local police coming in the door ready for action.

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#49402 - 12/18/02 04:51 PM Re: Stalling tactics
Anonymous
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We have been very successful at stalling bad guys who are passing bad checks and have gotten them arrested. In some cases, there may already be a check warrant issued in another jusisdiction. I agree that the risk is entirely different than that of a bank robber. We have never had any problem with the "bad guy" when the Police arrive. They have never responded violently...mostly, their reaction is that the "wind has been taken out of their sails". We tell the customer that the computer is offline, and will be back up in a few minutes...we need to call Downtown to the Computer Center to see when the computer will be back online. Dozens of arrests have been made this way, and we have never had a problem...we stress safety, while at the same time try to stall the bad guy. Few white collar criminals carry weapons.

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#49403 - 12/18/02 05:19 PM Re: Stalling tactics
Don_Narup Offline

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Las Vegas Nevada
I have had the same experience as Security Guy. Usually a plain cloths dectives shows up to make the arrest. Once cuffed, a uniformed officer comes in and they quitely take the crook out the door. Have never seen one give any resistance, and the deflated look on their face is worth seeing.

What I find amazing is even the big time scam guys fall for the delaying tactics as they do. We told one that what we needed to complete his transactin was in a locked file cabinet, and the person that had the key was at lunch, and not expected back for 15 minutes. We offered him coffee and a seat in the lobby where he sat until the police arrested him.

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#49404 - 12/18/02 05:31 PM Re: Stalling tactics
JacF Offline

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Good ruse, Don!
I also have found it helpful to get the fraudsters out of the drive in and into the lobby when needed. They're in a much better position to take off while sitting in a running vehicle- and more dangerous to passersby as well.

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#49405 - 12/18/02 06:01 PM Re: Stalling tactics
LiL Bit Moore Offline
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LiL Bit Moore
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Texas
I once saw a tactic used in the drive-thru that was knee-jerk and not recommended. We had a person come thru the drive thru to cash a stolen check. The teller explained she had to get approval but would return, the police were called. The police were just around the corner (a small town) and our Sr VP/Cashier wanted to stall them in fear they would get nervous and leave. The tellers wrote down vehicle description and identifying features but could not get the license number from their view. Our Cashier, a very petite lady, went outside and in to a fenced in court yard that gave her a frontal view of the car through the gate cracks to get the plate #. She saw the police turn in to the bank parking lot and in fear that the perps would leave she ran and stood in front of their car! I wish you could have seen not only our faces, but the perps as well

Like I said, I would not recommend it and she to this day cannot believe she did it, but it worked!
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#49406 - 12/18/02 10:26 PM Re: Stalling tactics
HRH Dawnie Offline
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Anchorage Alaska
When it comes to people visiting to cash a stollen check...they're not normally prone to shooting the teller. Those folks come in with robbery in mind not a scam. Thats why we don't play with the folks who say "give me your money". On the other hand, I find the best way to stall on the teller line was to play stupid. I've spilled my coffee all over the cage, knocked over my transaction bin, hit the "wrong" keys on the computer and had to reboot...and each time the dork stood there thinking I was an idiot, until the cops arrived and we found out who the idiot really was. So...my advice, play stupid. Stupid people (people who come in to cash bad checks etc.) think you're one of them and have an amazing amount of patience for their kind

My favorite one was just beginning to help me wipe up the coke I'd poored all over the counter when the cops arrived!
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#49407 - 12/18/02 11:42 PM Re: Stalling tactics
thomasj Offline
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Pennsylvania
I am wondering how you all are getting the police to respond quickly to catch someone who is passing bad checks! In most of our branch locations, I wouldn't be able to get them there unless they already had a warrant for the offender. The local police near our main office would be the exception.

This past summer, I had a guy from Canada who had taken us for a large sum of money. While surveying the damage, I noticed that his ATM card had just been captured minutes before that at one of our branches. I called the police near the branch where the suspect was just minutes before with a discription of him and his vehicle and they told me "We can't just go around stopping someone because you say they ripped you off." The guy was captured nearly two months later by the friendly officers of the police department near our main office. He had been pulling the same scam at another local bank, the bank called our local PD and they found the guy in a hotel parking lot just as he was about to skip town. They then notified us that the guy was in custody, he had taken us in a small town nearly two hours away.
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#49408 - 12/18/02 11:56 PM Re: Stalling tactics
HRH Dawnie Offline
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Anchorage Alaska
The ring we were working on when I learned the stupid trick was a group of about a dozen crooks. The town was medium sized (about 200,000) and almost every bank in town had been hit to the tune of a great deal of money. Our police dept was very supportative from the get go.

Now I probably shouldn't mention that the managers husband was the chief of police and my cousin was troop commander of the local state patrol office...you'll think we had some extra leverage

(we did....and we used it)

Even without those ties, our local law enforcement was very helpful throughout the locations I worked in Washington State. I experienced the same level of assistance when moving to Alaska where the Colonel of the State Patrol introduced himself to me just a few weeks after my transfer. The Chief of Police is just as responsive.
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#49409 - 12/19/02 12:57 AM Re: Stalling tactics
thomasj Offline
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Pennsylvania
It seems that my level of cooperation from the police is directly related to the distance I am away from them. The guys at the station less than a block away are like my buddies and we help each other out whenever we can, the ones that I have never met personally are less responsive. I have learned to get a branch manager or senior teller at those locations who has some ties to the local PD to help me out with these situations. It works like a charm most of the time!
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#49410 - 12/19/02 05:00 AM Re: Stalling tactics
JacF Offline

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I like the stupid teller tricks!

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#49411 - 12/19/02 04:03 PM Re: Stalling tactics
Michelle M Offline
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thomasj - it's the face those who have seen it just can't resist it.

Is that really you? or one of your kids?
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#49412 - 12/19/02 07:46 PM Re: Stalling tactics
thomasj Offline
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That is my 2 month old son, some people say he looks like me though!
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#49413 - 12/19/02 08:31 PM Re: Stalling tactics
Michelle M Offline
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He's adorable!
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#49414 - 12/19/02 09:59 PM Re: Stalling tactics
EllenA Offline
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Flushing, NY
I'm glad you said that, I was sitting here frozen, unable to move at the thought the police actually respond to something like that. Here, you cannot call the local precinct direct, you have to go through 9-1-1, and I don't think that would be high on the priority list.
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#49415 - 12/20/02 04:27 AM Re: Stalling tactics
JacF Offline

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*Rant warning*
I think it is horrible that you have to dial 911 for situations like these. It seems that the police encourage the use of the 911 system instead of the direct precinct numbers even for-non emergency situations. And then when you do call 911 (per the police instruction) you get operators lecturing you that this system is for emergency use only! Perhaps it's time to start the push for more 311 systems.

Truth be told, I guess I am fortunate to have local law enforcement that doesn't mind getting calls at the station from me. But I feel for anyone who has to deal with that kind of 'if it's not life threatening we'll help you when it's convenient' attitude.

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#49416 - 12/23/02 07:18 PM Re: Stalling tactics
Dana Turner Offline

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Pipe Creek TX - U.S.
Folks:

Thanks for the lively discussion. And JacFSB -- you're not full of peanuts. You simply have an opinion. Me, too . . .

In my experience, offenders who commit financial crimes may also be armed. Not always, just perhaps. Many bad check passers and forgers got their "working tools" while burglarizing an office or a house. If it was a house the offender also probably found the handgun tucked into the drawer in the master bedroom nightstand or under the mattress. He/she has never handled this weapon before, doesn't know if it's loaded -- or if it'll even fire. But he/she can sell it to someone -- right after he/she passes the bad/forged check at your institution.

As both a former deputy sheriff and a police officer, I lost track of the people I encountered who "shouldn't" have been armed -- and were. If you truly believe that financial crooks don't pose the same risk as robbers -- please consider this: for me, it's a safety issue, not a financial one.

If you want your employees to stall financial offenders, at least set guidelines for them -- in writing -- that describes when stalling is considered appropriate and for how long. Then give them practical examples and test their knowledge and reasoning capabilities.
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#49417 - 12/26/02 04:21 PM Re: Stalling tactics
Mike T Offline
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Posts: 11
I don't have much to add about "how to stall criminals". Just do whatever you can and keep telling them you're going to cash the check. Keep their ID if possible.

We have helped the police to make numerous arrests and have not ever had a teller feel threatened or a criminal become violent.

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