Fraud and Identity Theft: The Bank Examiner Swindle

by Washington Federal Team on October 3, 2011

Fraud and Identity Theft: The Bank Examiner SwindleThis post is part of a four-part series on fraud, identity theft and swindles that we’re hoping will educate our clients on how to avoid falling victim. In this piece, we focus on a bank examiner swindle. Learn more about how to protect yourself, and how we’re working to protect you.

Overview of the Swindle

A con artist posing as a bank examiner, FBI agent, FDIC official, or police officer induces a client to participate in a sting operation. The supposed purpose of the sting is to gather evidence against a dishonest bank employee, usually a teller. The client is instructed to withdraw cash from their account and deliver it to the “examiner” on the promise that it will be “marked” and re-deposited to the account during the sting.

How To Protect Yourself

  • You should never be asked to participate in this sort of operation. Receiving a phone call of this nature should be a red flag. No regulatory or law enforcement agency will ever ask a client to participate in a sting operation. In the rare instances where they conduct stings, these agencies have their own undercover agents and funding sources for such purposes.
  • The criminal often identifies a potential target via a pretext call a few days before the event. During that call, he probes for banking information and balances. He will use this information later to lure the client into the con.
    • If you receive a suspicious call from anyone purporting to be a law enforcement officer or bank official, hang up and call the bank or the police using a publicly listed phone number.
    • If you received such a call, didn’t think it was suspicious at the time, but later receive a call from a bank examiner, hang up and call the bank or police.
    • Although it’s embarrassing to have fallen victim to this type of swindle, it is critical that you report it as soon as possible. Particularly with this type of swindle, the criminal may be conning multiple clients at once, and your quick action could help law enforcement locate the criminal.

You may feel that assisting with a sting operation is helping the bank. But you should never be put in this situation. If you think that you are a victim of this or any other type of fraud, contact your bank representative immediately.

Next week: The Wire Transfer Swindle

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