Thursday, December 7, 2023

Pair of frauds beginning to surface repeatedly

As you know, we rarely issue Fraud Alerts to ensure they have more force and effect upon issuance, but, banker friends, we are once again there.

We are seeing an increase in two forms of fraud that share a commonality. Social engineering leading to check fraud is surging with recent attempts being in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Oklahoma banks have reported receiving account funds availability verification calls on existing accounts, followed by a call purporting to be the customer suggesting they are sending someone into the bank to cash a large check. Banks might consider having a manager somewhere in the process when dispensing large amounts of cash as well as a call back to your customer at your number on file, similar to wire fraud protection procedures. This has occurred in multiple locations and if you have seen activity with a similar fact pattern, the OBA fraud department would appreciate a call or email sharing your experience with this.

The second issue at hand is a continuation and expansion of the surge in wire fraud activity. Wire fraud still tends to originate most often with a business email compromise of your customer, with the cyber criminals having a presence in that computer for the better part of a year. In that time, they can replicate language patterns and have knowledge about the customer’s daily activities to mimic their emails directed to the correct person in the company to request a wire.

We have also seen numerous cases in the past few weeks where an email purports to be from a bank president asking for processing of a wire. These have been detected by our talented bank IT staffs and they are sharing red flags they have detected with other bank staff. Where the bank versions are nearly always detected and stopped, your retail customers are still falling prey to these scams. Our banks have become experts at asking customers if they understand where and why the funds are being disbursed if there are any signs of fraudulent activity, but sometimes these signs are not readily apparent. In these cases, we are then chasing the funds (fortunately, often successful with recovery).

For all these reasons, it is incumbent on all of us to educate customers about this potential fraud so they can partner with our bankers to limit wire fraud. OBA provides retail training on this topic and we have bankers who have informed customers through opportunities already in place such as service club luncheons. If our Oklahoma bankers need assistance in pulling together information for such a program, contact Elaine Dodd, elaine@oba.com, and we would be glad to help.

Finally, in both types of fraud above, there seems to be an increased amount of information the fraudsters have on customers. We feel certain the data is not a product of a bank breach, but rather one of any number of recent massive data breaches. Be assured we are exploring all possibilities to learn how we can better protect our customers and we would appreciate any insights you might have as to the source of any of this info being used in the crimes.

Thanks to our Oklahoma bankers for staying informed, alert and aware. As always, our Oklahoma bankers continue to partner with our customers to keep everyone safe and secure!