Foiled scams top $1 million for First National Bank

Foiled scams top $1 million for First National Bank
First National Bank South Dakota has helped stop $1,130,397.23 in fraud for its customers so far in 2006.

The counterfeit and fraud checks were received by bank customers and either turned in or caught by the alert staff at the bank.

The bank's security officer, Lee Gass, said midwesterners are not immune to growing financial crimes.

"What we've stopped at the bank so far this year comes from Nigerian scams, Internet sales schemes, fake lottery ?winnings,' and various other types of fraud you read about in the paper. We in South Dakota are not immune to becoming victims."

To keep staff on alert, Gass regularly notifies all staff of reported fraud throughout the United States to keep them on their toes. Almost on a daily basis, he relays alerts to the staff about counterfeit bank checks, cashiers checks, and other false monetary exchanges. There can be as many as six of these alerts a day, and some of these strike very close to home.

Gass reminds consumers to always be suspicious of unsuspected good fortune.

"I think we've all heard the phrase, ?If it's too good to be true, it probably is.' Victims of financial fraud are often very optimistic about an unexpected windfall, and that optimism is often what gets them in trouble. Don't be afraid to ask questions, request phone numbers, and ask for other verifications. If it's a scam, the conversation will probably end with those requests."

Thankfully, the bank staff members are well-trained and are keenly aware of these issues and have been able to help their customers steer clear of fraud.

"I'm not saying we will catch 100 percent of the fraud all the time," Gass explained, "but we're doing our best to protect our customers and the bank."

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