In a climate still reeling from the pandemic, businesses and consumers are more susceptible than ever to fraud schemes.
New types of fraud have emerged with growing use of internet and eCommerce – email and texting schemes, computer malware and social media schemes. These join the long list of traditional schemes like mailbox theft, elder abuse and telephone fraud.
Stearns Bank recognizes these evolving fraud schemes and their threat to customers. To protect customers, Stearns Bank has launched aggressive fraud detection and mitigation procedures.
The initiative started with internal education. The training has focused awareness of the many varieties of fraud, how to detect the early signs and taking action to stop a fraudulent transaction before it affects a customer’s account.
The theme of the Stearns Bank fraud-prevention program is “Raise Your Hand.” Customer education includes a “Fraud Friday” social media series. Our employees attend educational webinars and other required online trainings. Employees throughout the organization, not just the Fraud Prevention team, are required to be aware and proactive.
“Fraud is a growing topic, which continues to evolve. We want all team members to be aware of trends and ways our customers could be affected,” said Jill Molitor, director of fraud prevention at Stearns Bank. “If there is a threat or incident, we will take decisive action to prevent it from affecting our customers.”
Being Proactive & Spotting Fraud
Molitor emphasizes that proactive measures and strong internal communication can prevent fraud and save customers from financial loss. Even a minor incident or irregularity should be noted because it can be the early sign of attempted fraud.
“There are many bad actors trying to penetrate customers, businesses and banks,” Molitor said. “It’s in our customers’ interest to learn about fraud schemes and protect themselves,” she said.
“Raise Your Hand” promotes accountability throughout the organization, Molitor said.
“We’re increasing awareness on the team and getting everyone on board for spotting incidents and detecting fraud,” she said.
Stearns Bank customers benefit from exhaustive oversight and attention devoted to their financial transactions and security of their accounts.
With growth of digital banking and new payment technologies, Molitor and her team keep pace with formal education, professional certification and peer review to learn about emerging fraud trends and customer threats.
The list of fraud schemes is long and growing. Through our blog, social media channels and website, Stearns Bank in the coming weeks will offer tips on these and other fraud schemes:
- Curbside pickup
- Demands for payment
- Gift cards, cryptocurrency
- Elder financial exploitation
- Phishing emails
- Instant payment apps
- IRS taxes owed
- Mailbox theft
- Computer malware
- Relative in trouble
- Romance schemes
- Shoulder surfing
- Social media ‘quizzes’
- Sweepstake schemes
- Synthetic identity theft
Fraud Prevention Resources
The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) has a library of fraud topics, training and events, along with formal courses and certifications. The Fraud Resources section offers free and “members only” materials covering topics such as financial transactions, computers, accounting and auditing. ACFE also has a free podcast and newsletter
The Federal Trade Commission fraud-reporting website allows users to report cases of fraud, scams and bad business practices. A Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section describes how to report fraud, next steps and recovering damages.
To find out what security options Stearns Bank can offer you as a business owner, click below.