Meet Member One’s Manager of Fraud and Records, Hannah Babcock! In this interview, Hannah gives us a glimpse into the world of financial crime-fighting, shares where you might find her when she’s not outsmarting fraudsters (hint: try a mountaintop or a music festival), and tells us what you get when you mix Western New York moxie with Virginian manners. Keep reading to get to know more!
AL: Where are you from?
HB: I’m from Roanoke, born and raised. I love it. I’ve had a couple opportunities to move, but I just haven’t felt the need.
AL: So as a lifelong local, what would you say is one of the coolest things to do around Roanoke?
HB: There’s so many things! If you love the outdoors, then Roanoke is definitely a place for you. I really enjoy hiking MacAfee’s Knob, Buffalo Mountain, and Sharp Top. Buffalo Mountain is really good for the beginner and it has 360 views. And I love to hike Eagle Rock and then go to the Home Place for dinner.
AL: What’s the best thing to order at the Home Place?
HB: The Home Place is home-style and you just pick your meat and then they bring out the same sides for everybody. If you’re visiting Roanoke, it’s the one place where you have to eat before you leave. It’s in Catawba so it’s a little outside of Roanoke but it’s definitely worth the drive.
AL: As much as you love Roanoke, do you like to travel as well?
HB: I take a lot of weekend trips with friends. We’ll go see shows — I love going to see live music. Two summers ago I went to a music festival in Delaware, Firefly Music Festival, and saw 74 bands in the span of five days. Live music is something I definitely feel passionate about — it makes me feel good.
AL: How did you start working at Member One?
HB: Lindsey Sink, who works here currently, she and I are friends — we worked together at Brambleton Deli. I was telling her about how I was looking for something different, and she said, “I’ve been working for Member One for awhile and I love it, you should come and see if there’s something here for you.” So I started out as a teller at our Southwest branch and worked my way up from there.
AL: How did you end up working on the Fraud team? Had you always thought that was an area you were interested in?
HB: Fraud was just one of those things I fell into and ended up loving. It wasn’t planned! [laughs.]
AL: That happens sometimes!
HB: The opportunity presented itself and after looking it over it sounded like something I would really enjoy doing. I really enjoy the investigative piece of it and I really enjoy getting to work with law enforcement.
AL: Walk me through a typical day in the Fraud Department — I actually don’t know a lot about it.
HB: Oh, man. That’s hard, because a typical day could go either way for us. But typically, we start the day with working on charge card disputes that we’ve gotten in. We’ll review a report that comes in to show us our returned checks, and we’ll look over the accounts to see if maybe it was a fraudulent check the member was trying to pass.
Then it can really go anywhere. We could have account fraud come up and spend the whole day investigating that. We’re all hands on deck when something like that happens.
AL: So it sounds like you just need to be ready for anything.
HB: Yes. [laughs.] For anything.
AL: It sounds like you like that about your job, though.
HB: I do. I’m not a cookie-cutter person. I really enjoy coming into work and not knowing what’s going to happen. It keeps it fresh.
AL: It’s exciting.
HB: It is. I do have down times. During those times recently I’ve been working on PowerPoint presentations to educate both our membership and our employees about fraud, because fraud has been going up so rapidly — it’s going up around 40 percent, year over year, since 2016.
AL: Wow. So your team stays busy.
HB: We do. It’s just one of those things where we’re always trying to stay one step ahead of the fraudsters. And some times, you know, you don’t know until it’s already happened, and the best thing you can do is fix it as quickly as you can. But I know that we have a great Fraud team. I’m very lucky to work with the people I work with. They really are passionate about what they are doing and that plays a big role in it.
AL: Is there anything you want people to know about how they can help protect themselves against fraud?
HB: Something we’re working on this year that’s very important to me, because I do have two elderly grandmothers, is making people more aware of how seniors are unfortunately often targeted by scams. Fraudsters know who to target. They target people who might be lonely.
I’m working with Adult Protective Services on an education piece for seniors, on how they can protect themselves from things like phishing scams and romance scams. I’m planning on going around to different retirement centers — I’m looking forward to doing one where my Grandma lives. She’ll be so excited. She’ll be like, “That’s my granddaughter!” [laughs.]
AL: It always feels good to make your Grandma proud!
HB: Yeah. My dad’s side of the family is from New York, from Buffalo. So they’re very loud and outspoken. [laughs.] Then you have my Mom’s side which is the very southern, Virginian side, have to have manners. I have a little bit of both sides, I’d say. I think I got a good mixture.
AL: The best of both, right.
HB: Yeah. My dad actually passed away when I was eight, from colon cancer. I’m very passionate about cancer research and I try to do a lot with Relay for Life and American Cancer Society because that’s something I feel very close to. It’s something my family has been affected by on more than one occasion.
So, my mom has been my hero my whole life. But I definitely got some of my dad’s side and I love that aspect of my family.
AL: What’s one of the things you do with those organizations?
HB: Typically we’ve had a family team and we’ve walked in the Relay. I’m hoping to do that again this year.
AL: Any Buffalo Bills fans in your dad’s side of the family?
HB: Me. [laughs.] Actually yes, my whole family loves the Bills, that’s a requirement in our family. We’re Yankees and Bills fans. The only thing we don’t agree on is hockey — we are a house divided on hockey teams.
AL: Uh-oh. What are the teams?
HB: Half of our family loves the Capitols, which — gross. [laughs]. Then I love the Pittsburgh Penguins. I just like winners, and they don’t.
AL: Okay, last question. If you could trade places with anyone for a day — real or fictional, living or dead — who would it be?
HB: Okay. I’m a big geek. [laughs]. So I’d probably say it would be either Black Widow from the Avengers, or Wonder Woman. I think it would be cool to be one of them for a day, a powerhouse woman with some sweet skills.
AL: Well that’s kind of like what you and your team do in Fraud — you’re crime fighters.
HB: [laughs.] I guess! Maybe not on that level — but maybe that is what I’m kind of trying to channel here at work.