States take interest in FBA's anti-fraud program


Published: Wednesday, January 15, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 15, 2003 at 12:57 a.m.
Florida's financial institutions have 100 million reasons to participate in a unique fraud alert system developed by the Florida Bankers Association and that is now garnering attention in a number of other states.
"I can give you 100 million reasons why we need this," said Thom Kerr, chief financial officer for the Tallahassee-based FBA. "That is the $100 million Florida financial institutions lose annually to fraud. Now we have a standard means of communication between law enforcement and the financial institutions."
The association has a patent pending on its program, which involves the sharing of information between the financial industry and law enforcement. It was launched in April 2002 as a means to allow for quick reporting by financial institutions and law enforcement agencies of fraudulent activities that affect financial institutions. It now has 1,300 users throughout the state.
"We think it's a way to better educate law enforcement and financial institutions about fraudulent activities affecting their area," Kerr said. Not only does www.fraud-net.com allow banks and law enforcement officials to report fraudulent activity, but it is also a means for posting information about bank robberies.
Just recently, the North Carolina Bankers Association signed on with the program, and about 26 other states also have expressed interest, Kerr said.
"Our first and foremost goal is to serve the interests of bankers in Florida. Originally we had no intent to move beyond the state, but we've had other states calling us and inquiring about this," Kerr said.
FBA President-elect Mike Fields said that the database will revolutionize the way banks across America report these types of incidents.
"Real time information shared among law enforcement and the banking industry is a critical tool in combating fraudulent," Fields said.
The North Carolina association will use a version of the program to report fraudulent activity, as well as robberies in that state.
Financial institutions and law enforcement agencies wishing to join the program can do so via the Web site, or by contacting the FBA at (850) 224-2265. Credit unions also may obtain access, Kerr said.
Membership is free. "We approve each and every user, " he said, adding that approval is necessary to ensure access is restricted only to persons who are eligible.
Doris Chandler can be reached at 374-5094 or doris.chandler@gainesvillesun.com.

AT A GLANCE

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