U.S. Check Fraud, Oklahoma Bank Robberies Rise

By Potts, Gregory | THE JOURNAL RECORD, December 15, 1998 | Go to article overview

U.S. Check Fraud, Oklahoma Bank Robberies Rise


Potts, Gregory, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Two bank security threats are on the rise. Nationally, check fraud is increasing, while in Oklahoma, bank robberies are up.

According to the American Bankers Association, attempted check fraud at the nation's commercial banks exceeded $1 billion in 1997. Actual dollar losses were $512 million, up from $487 million in 1995.

About 10 percent of banks now capture "loss avoidance" statistics -- losses that would have been incurred had prevention systems and procedures not existed -- and reported those on the survey report. If more banks tracked and reported how much their prevention systems saved them, the attempted losses reported in the survey would be higher that $1 billion. According to the study, every large bank and one in two small banks reported check fraud losses. Survey participants ranked the top priorities in addressing the check fraud issue as: employee training, speeding/improving the check return system, speeding/improving large-dollar return-item notifications, customer education and communication with peers regarding check fraud in seminars, workshops, and conferences. In Oklahoma, the Federal Bureau of Investigation reports there have been 46 bank robberies this year through November. This is up 58.6 percent from 29 in all of 1997, and more than double the 19 in 1996 and 20 each in the two proceeding years. John Mabry, a supervisory agent for the FBI, said December is often a bad time because people are overextended with debt and want to buy Christmas gifts. Mabry said the most important thing banks can do to prevent robberies is to ask staff to report any suspicious activity they see. People Will Rogers Bank has promoted Charlene Fast to vice president, manager of personal banking services at its Oklahoma City location. …

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