Bank Theft Alert: Have you looked at your account statements closely?
We have been alerted to a new and widespread trend of theft from bank accounts. No, not by bank robbers but by bank employees.
How it works and why you are not hearing about it
The typical target is an account with a large balance. An accomplice of a bank teller, armed with your name and bank account number, forges a withdraw slip often in an amount that is likely too small for you to notice if the account has a large balance, such as $2,500 against a balance over 100,000. The accomplice then goes to the crooked teller and produces a forged credit card or other form of identification. If the first unauthorized withdrawal is not noticed, the two thieves will make additional withdrawals. One person we spoke to had $7,500 stolen over a period of two months.
Once alerted to the unauthorized withdrawals, the bank will investigate and quickly reimburse the accounts for the full amount of the loss.
What happens to the thieves? According to our sources, the employee is fired and nothing more. But haven’t the employee and accomplice committed a crime? Yes, but once you get your money back, you have no case with the bank, so you have no grounds to pursue. The banks do not want the negative publicity that comes with criminal prosecution of employees. Instead they are sent packing and nothing more. As a result, usually no one hears about these thefts, but according to our sources hundreds or even thousands of instances are occurring all over the country every day. No one knows for certain because the banks are not required to report the thefts, and the FBI cannot investigate crimes they are not aware of. As long as the money is returned, the attitude is no harm no foul.
The FBI needs your help
We recommend you go to your local ATM and print out the past month’s account activity, and check you last several months’ statements as well.
If you discover unauthorized debits from an account, report it to the FBI at the same time as to the bank. This allows the FBI to investigate before the bank has a chance to fix your accounts. That said, we were also told that the FBI is operating under instructions to not pursue cases of theft of less than $100,000. They simply don’t have enough staff to manage the volume of these smaller crimes. But if the thefts are reported then at least the FBI has a record of the crimes, and perhaps once better data are collected a reporter for a publication with more reach than iTulip.com can alert the public to the risk.
Forewarned is forearmed. Good luck.
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