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Fraudster targets shared branches
BEAVER, Pa. (8/7/09)--WESTAIRCOMM FCU, Beaver, Pa., is alerting credit unions on its shared-branching network about a fraudster who has hit several western Pennsylvania credit unions. The individual opened an account with WEST-AIRCOMM in early June. Over the next few weeks, he deposited checks at two other credit unions on the shared branching network. The checks looked like payroll checks, but were from closed accounts (Life is Highway Aug.5). The fraudster knows the workings of shared branching, said Bill Gandjos, director of collections and security for WEST-AIRCOMM. “He’s definitely a pro. He went to two different shared service centers--one in West Mifflin, Pa., and one in McKeesport, Pa.--and deposited checks on the same closed accounts,” Gandjos told News Now. “My gut feeling is that he thought we wouldn’t do anything about it. I talked to him Monday.” The credit union sent the man a letter, required by Pennsylvania law, informing him that he had 10 days to make good on the checks or be subject to prosecution. That 10 days passed July 31, Gandjos said. “I gave his name to the Beaver (Pa.) police to prosecute him,” Gandjos added. Sandy Shenk, Pennsylvania Credit Union Service Centers Inc. state coordinator, suggested to the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association that credit unions delay access to shared branching for new members until the members have established a relationship with the credit union.
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