A group of organized criminals, referred to as the Felony Lane Gang, uses the Fort Lauderdale-area as a home base to plan their attacks on unsuspecting banks. The group travels across the U.S., stealing items from unattended vehicles parked in areas such as state or county parks, sporting events, parking structures, and more. The Felony Lane Gang looks to steal checks and identification belonging to victims like driver’s licenses, credit, and debit cards. Once gathered, the group cashes numerous fraudulent transit checks by posing as a valued customer of your bank.
The Felony Lane Gang received their name because they often target the far drive-up lane to make positive identification more difficult.
Felony Lane Gang Tactics
- Late model vehicles are driven (usually rented) bearing stolen Wisconsin plates.
- Criminal actors (often female) will dress the part — using wigs and other means to resemble the picture displayed in the stolen identification.
- The Felony Lane Gang will typically supply two forms of identification to lure front-line staff into a false sense of security.
Once the Felony Lane Gang is successful in cashing the first check, other branches are quickly targeted.
Possible Red Flags
- The actor presenting the check appears anxious, rushed, overly chatty, or name drops.
- The branch location appears out of the area in comparison to the customer’s address on file.
- A second form of identification provided (a debit or credit card issued by your bank) has been previously closed or hot carded.
- The actor cannot accurately answer additional security verification questions.
Depending on your branch footprint and overall risk tolerance, consider adopting best practices such as:
- Adding an electronic notation or warning flag to a relationship profile when a customer reports that their identification was stolen. This serves as a fraud warning prior to Felony Lane Gang activity occurring.
- Compare the likeness of the person conducting the transaction to the identification presented for inconsistencies.
- Adopt step up identification procedures for transactions that exceed a certain dollar amount.
- If the customer is not “personally known” to you or other branch staff, use out-of-wallet identification methods — such as employer information, last direct deposit date, etc.
It is important to note that although the Felony Lane Gang typically uses drive up lanes to commit fraud, bolder groups are going inside the branch as well.
When in doubt, follow your bank’s procedures on suspicious transaction activity to minimize losses.