LANCASTER, Pa. – A news item in Life Is a Highway, the daily online newsletter issued by the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association helped representatives from LANCO FCU to identify a man who attempted to cash a fraudulent check. On Monday, April 12, Life Is a Highway published an alert from Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU of Middletown, Pa, about a series of fraudulent items received, including a copy of the signature used. A follow-up story stated that the signature was valid for several credit unions in New Jersey, but it was believed that the signature had been lifted and was being copied for use for fraudulent checks at Pennsylvania credit unions. Upon reading the alert, Barbara Fortney, CEO of LANCO FCU, provided copies of the signature to tellers at all LANCO locations and told them to be on the lookout for fraudulent checks. The man using the signature first attempted to cash an $8,300 check at LANCO’s Mount Joy branch. Staff identified the check as fraudulent and attempted to stall the man, but he left the facility. The man then drove to the credit union’s main branch and attempted to cash another check. Staffers again identified the check as fraudulent but, this time, they were able to stall him until police arrived and apprehended the suspect. Police matched the signature with that published in Life Is a Highway, as well as took a copy of the article and copies of the credit union’s surveillance tape, which provided a clear image of the suspect with his hat removed. Fortney praised her staff for being alert, thinking quickly, trusting their instincts and remaining calm throughout the situation. “They were very professional and put their training skills to good use,” she said. She also praised Life Is a Highway, saying “It was the fraud alert that helped us catch him.” Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU also reported that a woman they believe to be a partner in the fraud scheme has been targeting credit unions around Reading, Pa. The woman has been reported to use the name “Chere” or various spellings of it.
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