Wells Fargo to fight fraud, counterfeiting

Wells Fargo Bank has begun installing new devices for catching counterfeit and fraud.

Investment in the ultraviolet technology already has paid significant loss-prevention dividends, said Tim Coughlon, Wells Fargo’s Seattle-based regional president for the Northwest.

“Fraud costs U. S. consumers and businesses billions and billions each year, and we’re fighting back on behalf of our company and our customers,” he said.

Desktop production of fake negotiable items, such as checks, identification and currency, is one of the leading types of fraud today, according to a recent survey by the American Bankers Association. Counterfeit and fraud losses at U.S. businesses total an estimated $12 billion to $15 billion per year, and the Secret Service says the problem is on the rise.

The new Wells Fargo equipment – which scans for the authenticity of items including IDs, checks and currency – improves Wells Fargo’s ability to neutralize high-tech tools employed by counterfeiters.

Wells Fargo tested the devices extensively at its banks in nine states last fall and has begun deploying the equipment throughout Washington and Oregon, Coughlon said. All Wells Fargo banking stores in the states will be outfitted with the devices by the third quarter of 2002, he added.

“We are not able to discuss the specifics of these new devices because it could affect our ability to protect our customers and our company,” Coughlon said. “We can say that the deployment of these devices represents a significant commitment to our mission of fighting fraud and counterfeiting.”

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