Attentive employees stop fraud

Someone once told me that no one looks at signatures on checks. Now I know that’s not true!

I had an experience recently where an eagle-eyed operations employee at Prime Security Bank in Eagan, Minn., prevented a series of fraudulent checks from going through when she noticed that the signature on the checks did not match the signatures on the signature card.

I am involved with a non-profit educational endeavor that banks at Prime Security. The bank alerted us when about a half dozen checks came through in amounts of $400 and $500. The checks did not look like our regular checks, although they did have the name of our organization on it. The checks were payable to someone in Florida, which would have been strange for our Minnesota-based operation. The signatures on the bad checks were illegible, all but one being the same.

Had the check-clearing process at Prime Security been too automated, they may have gone through, causing a loss of some $4,000 or so. This would have been a real blow to our operation, and to our donors. But I am very grateful that the bank didn’t cash any of the checks, holding them until after they had contacted us for verification. When we looked at them, we knew right away they were fakes.

The bank encouraged us to immediately close the account and open a new one. We did that, and an employee even met us outside regular business hours so we could get this taken care of without interrupting our business day.

As for the person who wrote the bad checks, there was no way to find out who that was. We wonder how they identified our little non-profit as a target. I wonder how they had heard of us and why they thought they might be able to scam us.

And perhaps they would have succeeded, had it not been for the alert person processing checks at Prime Security Bank. I am sincerely grateful!