FBI: Watch Online Account Openings
An FBI lead investigator suggested financial institutions step up efforts to prevent fake online account openings following the announcement of a fraud scheme authorities said involved hundreds of credit unions and banks.
Michael Thoreson, the FBI special agent in charge of the Pittsburgh-based case, told CU Times the investigation is expected to lead to new charges against more suspects after five people were indicted last month.
The $4.1 billion Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union, one of the nine cooperatives named in court papers, processes about 3,000 online account applications every month.
Even though the Harrisburg, Pa.-based credit union invests in expensive fraud detection technology, at least one bogus account related to the FBI case was opened. In April 2011, the credit union noticed the account was receiving more than $41,000 in federal tax returns, said Gregory Smith, president/CEO of PSECU.