AJC.com recently reported the story of a group of fraudsters who used Instagram ads to solicit bank information for unsuspecting victims, who were robbed of substantial funds before the crime was discovered.
During a scheme lasting at least 17 months, the FBI said, the trio posted advertisements on Instagram and other social media sites offering “fast cash” to people who had accounts at the financial institutions.
From some people who answered the ads, the fraudsters were able to obtain bank account numbers, PIN numbers, online banking info and debit cards.
The FBI said the trio then deposited checks that were stolen or from closed accounts into the compromised accounts and withdrew cash from the accounts before the financial institutions realized the checks were bogus.
Altogether, more than $1 million of such invalid checks were deposited, the FBI said.
It’s easy to be shocked at the ease with which these crooks got their hands on a substantial amount of money before being caught. Preventing scenarios like these is easier said than done, though. The process of stopping deposit fraud (from transit counterfeits) requires a well thought-out plan, and a combination of technologies because of how the laws are written now — most funds are available next day.
Only within the last year, it is now possible to run automated signature verification, check stock validation along with deposit transaction analysis on transit checks for real-time identification of counterfeits, forgeries, and alterations! These improvements enable banks to beef up their protections for both on-us and transit items.
In a faster-than-light communications world where large-scale tools like Instagram and Facebook are available to “the bad guys” at no real cost, it’s more important than ever for financial institutions to protect themselves and their customers from “quick-hit” operators like the Instagram scammers described above. Real-time solutions are more vital than ever!