In the past few weeks, we’ve seen a familiar scenario play out. We hear from law enforcement that one or more skimmers have been found. The devices were placed on gas pumps, point-of-sale terminals and ATMs. But the announcement of the crime was delayed by days, or even weeks.
In one recent incident, a financial institution’s cardholder suffered losses of more than $1,000 at the hands of fraudsters. She posted on social media and alerted the media of the problem.
The revelation of the fraud forced police to confirm that this skimmer and several others had actually been found weeks ago. The institution that had been victimized had to answer a tough question: Why didn’t they say anything as soon as the skimmer was found?
Too many times, bank and credit union executives decide that if they don’t say anything, they will avoid the negative publicity they believe will come with finding a skimmer. They forget that NOT saying anything risks damaging the trust accountholders have in their institution.
Remember, your institution has been the VICTIM of a crime, and your accountholders are now potential victims, too. Immediate transparency can mitigate that risk. It lets your accountholders know they are first on your priority list. It also provides an opportunity to engage with your accountholders through the media. You can educate consumers with valuable information and remind accountholders of the steps you’ve taken to mitigate fraud, such as implementing monitoring practices, conducting staff training and being aware of fraud schemes — both foreign and domestic.
Which is more embarrassing: immediately reporting there was a skimmer, OR, explaining that your institution knew there was a skimmer but didn’t tell accountholders — meaning they now have to experience the frustration of getting ripped off by fraudsters?
If you see something, say something.