Demopolis Police to hold fraud prevention classes

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 13, 2005

DEMOPOLIS-On Tuesday July 19 the Demopolis Police Department will go the extra mile to help eliminate fraud in the River City. On this day the department will offer classes designed for tellers and clerks to help prevent them from becoming victims of scams.

The classes will be offered at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the Demopolis University Center.

Sgt. Tim Soronen said the class will give employees a rundown of the scams that exist and how easily it can be to fall victim to them. He will teach them warning signs and other helpful tips to catch these criminals before their victims feel their wrath.

“If they follow the basic instructions it will teach them how to identify forgery, counterfeit checks and other scams,” Soronen said. There are also a lot of Nigerian scams floating around out there that are lottery scams. They call it the Canadian lottery.”

The class will cover forgery, counterfeit checks, check kitting, credit card fraud, identity theft, lottery scams, internet scams, E-bay scams and counterfeit cash. Soronen said the classes were inspired by an increase in these crimes around the area.

“We have seen a rash of different things,” Soronen said. “We are going to teach the clerks how to look for these things and prevent them.”

This will be the third time the classes have been offered. Soronen said after the first session these crimes were cut tremendously.

“We have given the class twice and the first time we gave it we had a high rate,” Soronen said. “When we gave the class it cut it in half right away. The clerks started watching things more and they knew what to look for.”

However, soon thereafter Soronen said they saw a need for the classes again. Fortunately, they also saw the same successful results.

“The next year there was a lot of turnover,” Soronen said. “It started picking back up so we offered the class again and right after that it went down again. Once they get trained they will catch things.”

Demopolis Police Chief Jeff Manuel said having the classes benefits everyone.

“It benefits us to have them take this class and educate them,” Manuel said. “That way, they don’t suffer a loss and we don’t have a case to work.”

Manuel said he would like to see the classes continue periodically because of switching trends.

“This is something we want to do to help our community be on the lookout for this type of thing,” Manuel said. “We would like to do something every sixth months to keep them up to date with the trends. Things change every day.”

Soronen said there is a need for these classes as fraud crimes continue to increase.

“People are moving away from robberies because they can make more money doing this stuff,” Soronen said. “Robberies net you a $2,000 from a bank, but they can make $30,000 in a day if they are good at this and if they find people who are susceptible to this. That is why we offer the classes.”

To register yourself or your employee please contact Sgt. Tim Soronen wit h the Demopolis Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Division. This training is free of charge, but not open to the public. You must register and be an employee of a Bank or Retail business.