Preventing check fraud and identity theft
Beginning July 1, 2003, we will begin participating in an industry-wide program designed to help prevent check fraud and identity theft. These crimes can cost Minnesota banks and their customers millions of dollars every year. The program, called Thumbprint Signature, will not directly impact your company, though it may impact some of your employees or others to whom you write checks.
Thumbprint Signature was first implemented in Texas in 1995. Since that time, it has been very well received by businesses, banks and their customers. A test group of participating banks has received an average 60% reduction in check fraud losses since starting the program. The program is so successful in reducing check fraud that it has been implemented in 46 states.
The program is very simple. If a non-account holder comes to cash a check with our bank, they will be asked to provide not only the standard forms of identification, but also to impress their thumbprint on the check; therefore, these transactions must take place in the lobby during lobby hours. Each of our tellers will have a small, inkless pad to facilitate the process. The procedure is quick, simple and clean.
The prints are not placed in a database and are used only if a check is found to be stolen, counterfeit or fraudulent. In those cases, it becomes an important tool for law enforcement to use in apprehending those responsible.
While we believe being more active in fighting crime is important, we do not want to disturb or disrupt any of our customers or those wishing to legitimately cash our customers' checks. I ask your help in letting your employees and others who may be impacted know about our program.
I also want to invite you to call us with any questions or concerns you may have about this or any of our other programs or procedures. Your input will be important as we continue our efforts to eliminate this source of fraudulent activity.
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