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Safe hero
• Oct 16, 2023

We all have encountered a suspicious email that doesn't seem right. There are usually red flags that help us tap that delete button, making the questionable correspondence disappear as quickly as it appeared — the sense of urgency, the misspelled words and awkward turns of phrase, and the too-good-to-be-true offers of riches and rewards.

For many of us, we can avoid phishing emails and online fraud attempts because we have experience with them — they are a part of our daily digital lives. However, there are many people who don't have that experience and may still be susceptible to fraudsters.

That's where the TD SAFE roadshow can help.

Cory Nelson, Head of Global Security & Investigations

TD SAFE (Security Awareness for Everyone) is a roadshow hosted by TD's Fraud Risk Management team in partnership with Retail, Anti-Money Laundering, and Fraud Operations, which aims to educate the community about financial fraud, identity theft, internet scams, and ways to protect themselves and their assets.

The roadshow series started in March, with an early event at the Kennedy House — a senior living facility in Philadelphia — attracting more than 70 residents who were interested in learning more about fraud and sharing their own harrowing tales of being defrauded. From there, word quickly spread in the community.

Partnering with the community

Nick Breiner, Police Director for the City of Rahway, New Jersey, heard about TD SAFE through a former law enforcement colleague — Carmen Cerreto, who now serves as a store manager in Cranford, New Jersey.

Carmen's store is only a few miles outside of Rahway, and he called Nick to advise him of the services and programs TD and his branch could provide to the Rahway Police Department — including community outreach events, training, information, and expertise for ongoing investigations into fraud.

"I told Carmen, 'Let's not just dream. Come in for a meeting, and let's make something happen,'" Nick recalled. "I have a habit of never saying no when somebody offers our residents something for free — especially a community service from a valued partner like TD and what they bring to the table."

After their meeting, the decision was made to bring the TD SAFE roadshow to Rahway. More than 50 people attended the seminar in July, with Chris Blackmore, Fraud Risk Manager, and his team sharing their expertise.

"The team came in and did a fantastic job, beyond my expectations," Nick added.

A police officer speaks to the crowd at the Mount Laurel, NJ TD SAFE Roadshow

A similar event was held in September in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. The police department there partnered with the Fraud Risk Management team to share tips and experiences before a crowd of more than 60 people.

"The attendance was great, and I know we added a second date", said Judy Lynn Schiavone, Police Chief for the Mount Laurel Police Department. "That's a great feeling — to know people are engaging, they're listening, and that they're paying attention."

At the Mount Laurel event, a woman named Faye Berlin showed how engaged she was by coming up to Chris afterward to thank him and his team for their work.

"I was so impressed with the whole program, the presentation, and the professionalism of the people who spoke to us," Faye said. "I really felt like they were telling us the truth, and it was very helpful to hear their tips."

TD SAFE events serve not only to educate, but to also build relationships with people like Faye — which is key to investigating financial fraud. The Fraud Risk team and local police departments want the community to understand they should talk about fraud with the officers, tellers, and bankers they interact with every day.

Running a roadshow

Chris describes the roadshows as very interactive. His team is there to answer questions, and they don't want folks to hold back until the very end — especially on a topic centered around their finances, identities, and livelihoods.

Chris Blackmore, Fraud Risk Manager

"We stress to our guests to talk about their experiences. We want everyone in that room to hear about it because the people next to them may not know," Chris says. "But if you're sharing your story at the time we're teaching, it helps push our point across."

"Once one hand goes up, you tend to see two or three more hands go up sharing their stories about their own experiences with fraud," adds Tommy Berner, Community Business Development Officer. "The people we talk to are incredibly candid about what they've been through."

Lauren Acker, Senior Fraud Risk Analyst

In addition to education and Q&A, the Fraud Risk team utilizes video and real-world case studies to help attendees better understand the risks they could face. At the Mount Laurel event, audible gasps could be heard from the crowd when they watched a video about a woman who lost her entire life savings — totaling nearly $200,000 — as part of a romance scam.

During each session, the team provides the audience with anonymous surveys to gain insights into their fraud experiences. At the event in Rahway, thirty surveys were collected, with 12 people responding that they had been victims of fraud in the past.

Looking forward

Since its inception earlier this year, the TD SAFE roadshow has hosted 16 events across the TD footprint, with 12 more in the works. TD will continue partnering with community groups, including police departments, to host these events in the future -- including one that will take place in Cranford, New Jersey on November 14 with the support of not only the Cranford Police Department but also members of the U.S. Secret Service.

"I have a very good relationship with the department, being a retired police officer," Carmen explained. "Cranford PD loved the idea of bringing TD SAFE to their community, and so they worked with us to organize the event."

Although the events in Rahway, Mount Laurel, and at the Kennedy House saw large crowds, the Fraud team doesn't care if their audience is small — or even if they're TD customers. What's important to everyone involved is that they're spreading the message.

"Whether you're a customer or not, it's the right thing to do. We want the community to know that TD is here for them," Chris says.

Lindsey Federer, Fraud Management Strategist

"Everyone in these meetings has either been impacted by fraud or knows someone who has been impacted by fraud," adds Lindsey Federer, Fraud Management Strategist. "When we talk about fraud in the open, it brings these scams to life, and it arms the community with awareness so they can protect themselves."

Nick is proud of the efforts TD makes to build bridges in the community — an effort he hopes will cut down on the rampant fraud hurting our most vulnerable populations.

"Seeing the community come together — our local bank, our police officers, our citizens — and have a mindful conversation about this topic was special. It was true community building, and we're very thankful to TD for providing us with this opportunity."

Visit TD.Com/FraudPrevention to learn more about protecting yourself and your loved ones from fraud and scams.

Want to learn more about Our Communities?
Keeping Your Child Safe from Online Dangers
Small Business Fraud: What You Need to Know to Protect Your Business
Preventing Elder Fraud: Solid Advice Anyone Can Take to The Bank

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