A staffing crunch doesn't have to mean increased risk.
Financial institutions’ front offices already had a turnover issue coming into 2020. However, dealing with the pandemic created even more workforce uncertainty due to branch closings, rotating personnel and staff shortages. Has this deficiency in key frontline personnel led to weaknesses in an FI’s ability to check items for fraud?
The Federal Trade Commission receives tens of thousands of reports each year about fake checks. Over the last three years, the number of complaints has steadily increased, as have the dollars lost.
According to internal data from TrueChecks®, Advanced Fraud Solutions’ check fraud prevention platform, there has been a 35% increase in Extended Hold recommendations and an 11% increase in Deny recommendations in the first half of 2020 compared to the same period in 2019.
Stopping check fraud often hinges on tellers and back-office staff as the first line of protection. Training tellers to recognize fraudulent checks effectively increases trust and retention and, importantly, keeps financial institutions protected from potential losses.
Responses to COVID-19 have left many financial institutions struggling to stay staffed and overcome inadequate resources and training. Branches across the country have had to adjust to closings, modified openings and more reliance on banking technology, such as remote and mobile deposits. These changes have required new protocols to be put in place, such as floating tellers and increased mobile and remote deposit limits. They have also put pressure on staff.
A staff crunch may also translate to less time and training to check items, and more strain on fraud prevention processes. A well-trained staff can look for different physical tells when someone tries to pass a check at the teller line. Less experienced staff, however, might let fake checks through.
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Advanced Fraud Solutions, High Point, North Carolina, has been a trusted leader in providing fraud mitigation tools for banks and credit unions nationwide for over a decade. In 2007, a group of regional financial institutions in North Carolina, seeking a way to share counterfeit check information between one another, established the premise of Advanced Fraud Solutions. This idea of banks and credit unions contributing bad check data to work together in the fight against fraud was born and has grown exponentially over the years. Today, we have over 650 financial institutions nationwide utilizing a wide variety of fraud prevention tools, yet still subscribing to the idea that sharing high-risk information is the best approach to fighting fraud.