Ask the right questions to protect members

Communication is a powerful tool against fraud.

When an elderly member came to Wildfire Credit Union in Saginaw, Mich., and requested a cashier’s check payable to cash, Clarissa Marter immediately saw a red flag.

Marter, who has been a teller at the $696 million asset credit union for 15 years, looked at the member’s account and saw that a $7,650 check had been deposited the day before. The man was now requesting a cashier’s check for $7,000, not knowing who it should be made payable to.

Suspicious, Marter asked the man questions to determine whether the check was legitimate or fraudulent. The man explained that his wife had won a sweepstakes prize and received the check that he deposited the day before.

“As he was talking to me and answering my questions, I could see on his face that the scenario was not making sense to him,” Marter says.

After about 20 minutes of questioning and a follow-up investigation, the man agreed to put a 10-day hold on the check.

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