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Bank Employees Thwart Scam Targeting Elderly Customer

By Patty Wetli | Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Left to right: William H. Townsell, assistant director, CAPS Implementation Office, Chicago Police Department; Chiara Verdi, first vice president, MB Financial Bank, Carrie McNay; Andrew Briel; and Bob Malinowski, head of security, MB Financial Bank

ATMs are mighty convenient, but can they stop a con artist in his tracks? That’s a job for real human beings, like MB Financial Bank employees Andrew Briel and Carrie McNay.

Briel and McNay, working out of the MB branch at 4800 N. Western Ave., were recently awarded Honorary Civic Commendations from the CAPS Implementation Office for their role in helping to thwart a financial scam involving an elderly customer.

Unusual account activity by the customer–a request for a $5,000 cashier’s check–raised red flags with the bank employees, who immediately became suspicious. After connecting with authorities, MB determined that the customer had received a communication in the mail demanding $5,000 in order to collect millions of dollars being held at U.S. customs; the notice threatened imprisonment if the conditions weren’t met. Thanks to the MB team, working in conjunction with law enforcement, the customer was warned of the scam and a financial loss was averted.

It’s worth noting that while many of us find those emails from Nigerian diplomats and widows amusing, according to research from the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), more than one in 10 elderly individuals may experience some type of abuse including financial exploitation. NCEA defines exploitation as theft, fraud, misuse or neglect of authority, and use of undue influence as a lever to gain control over an older person’s money or property. MB banking center staff regularly participate in training seminars to learn about the warning signs of elder abuse.

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