Everyday heroes put a stop to fraudsters

Time and again, fraudsters try to scam people out of their money. Commerzbank employees repeatedly prevent fraud attempts in our branches, including in the Nuremberg region.

Stefan Sochatzy
Hands of an elder person take two 50-Euro-notes out of a red wallet
© Adobe Stock, Oleg
Thanks to the level-headed and attentive behaviour of Christine Maiwald and her colleagues at the advisory branch in the Nuremberg region, damages amounting to €500,000 have been successfully averted.

Eberhard S. knows a thing or two about parasites. It was the speciality of the retired vet from Würzburg – and yet the passionate hunter almost fell victim to a modern pest, if it hadn't been for Christine Maiwald, a seasoned private customer employee, who saved the then 85-year-old from harm. Eberhard S. received what the police call a ‘shock call’. A stranger – claiming to be a public prosecutor – made S. believe that his daughter had fatally injured a child in a road accident. The only thing that could save her from going to prison was paying her bail quickly.

"A bizarre story," recalls Christine Maiwald, a private customer advisor at the Würzburg branch. "The caller asked what our customer could put up as security. Mr S. looked at his bank statements and said: €30,000." The pensioner was then sent to Commerzbank by taxi. He was closely monitored. The ‘public prosecutor’ wanted to listen in and asked him to stay connected on his mobile phone the whole time.

Quick-witted despite the shock

Eberhard S. was shocked, but he suspected that something was very wrong. When he entered the branch, he seemed very on edge. He needed €30,000 quickly, as he explained to Christine Maiwald. But Eberhard S. outwitted the eavesdropper: he pressed a piece of paper with his daughter's telephone number into the private customer employee's hand. Christine Maiwald responded immediately, but was unable to make contact with his daughter – who was allegedly in police custody – either on her landline or mobile phone.

She remembered a colleague from the small-customer business who also knew Mr S. and his daughter – and whose call went out with a Würzburg ID. The daughter was finally reached and confirmed that she was free and that none of this cock-and-bull story was true. Eberhard S. was relieved. Christine Maiwald quickly terminated the mobile phone connection to the fraudster and smuggled the customer out of the building via the rear exit – just in case the perpetrator was watching the branch. Eberhard S. immediately went to the police just a few hundred metres down the road and filed a report.

Both, he and his daughter, later thanked Christine Maiwald for her attentive support. "If he had had the €30,000 at home, he would have handed it over to the fraudster in the initial state of shock," Christine Maiwald is convinced. Eberhard S. first offered his microscope as bail, but the ‘public prosecutor’ insisted on money, diamonds or gold.

Culture Award for integrity

Christine Maiwald, together with her colleagues Andreas Gernet, Sven Faber, Nicole Schumacher and Claudia Heindl from the Nuremberg region, received the Commerzbank Culture Award 2023 in the Integrity category for their level-headed behaviour. They had also put a stop to fraudsters in other cases thanks to their attentive behaviour. In one case, a customer withdrew €4,000 week after week for ‘neighbourhood assistance’. Targeted enquiries by the branch employees ensured that this fraud was stopped. The police arrested the perpetrator outside the branch. A shady customer was also arrested. He had faked a car sale and ultimately wanted to launder money. Here too, the branch employees were alert and thwarted the criminal offence. Three examples out of so many. All in all, the colleagues at the advisory branch in the Nuremberg region have prevented losses totalling half a million euros. Christine Maiwald is certainly glad to have helped the now 86-year-old pensioner. "These acts are primarily prevented because we know our customers and are able to act based on our gut feeling and common sense."

Portrait Christine Maiwald
© Christine Maiwald

Christine Maiwald

Private customer advisor, Würzburg branch

Christine Maiwald started as a trainee at Commerzbank in 1981. After holding various positions as an account manager and administrator, junior advisor and commercial employee, she has been working in customer service since 2022. Here she started as a service advisor and private customer assistant before taking on her current position as a private customer advisor.