Closed Your Account Because Of Fraud? Bank Of America Helpfully Links Your New Account

If you close your account because some jerk stole your student loan payment check and is trying to cash it, you might want to switch banks. Otherwise, Bank of America might helpfully link your new account to your old one so the #%@$# can still cash the stolen check.

From the Chicago Tribune:

So when I received an answering machine message early last month from a woman named Josephine who claimed to work for Bank of America Corp., I thought I knew just what was going on.

This was one of those “phishing” scams, I thought, in which a thief pretends to be a bank representative and gathers personal information from unsuspecting victims.

I wasn’t going to take the bait.

But as it turned out, I already had been had.

Someone had stolen an envelope containing a bill payment that I had left for the mail carrier on my front porch. My $200 check to a student loan vendor had been altered. It was now a $600 check to a stranger, who scrawled in the memo line that it was for maintenance and labor.

Bank of America refused to take the check, photocopying the fraudster’s license, but letting him leave with the stolen check. The reporter closed his account, got new one with B of A, and placed a security alert on his credit report. He then filed a police report.

Did that stop the bad guy? Nope. He simply went to another Bank of America, cashed the check and $600 was taken from our Hero’s brand new account. But how?
“And even though our old account was closed, the bank had withdrawn the money out of the new one.” Good job, Bank of America. —MEGHANN MARCO

Fraud hits home — my front porch! [Chicago Tribune]
(Photo: Meghann Marco)

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  1. muddgirl says:

    It sounds like the actual branch made an error – in the past, I’ve closed accounts with stolen cards or checks, and the old account number should be completely inactive. I’m guessing the guy social-engineered his way into getting the check cashed; faulty training rather than faulty account practices would be to blame.

  2. 1) Why was he leaving checks on his front porch? (Seriously, I’m confused.)

    2) Why the heck would a bank link a closed account to a new one? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of closing the other account regardless of why it’s being closed? That’s just stupid.

    Good job BoA. Good job.

  3. eldergias says:

    Unless it is specifically disclosed in the Terms and Conditions that they can do that I would say that you have grounds to claim that Bank of America stole your money.

    It’s like if I walk up tot he bank and ask them to please just give me some money. They then take $100 out of your account and give it to me. The person who asked for the money is a douche, to be sure, but the bank had no reason whatsoever to take the money from your account, they stole it from you.

    One of my roommates uses Bank of America, and I come home every day and tell him these stories and he whines a little and fears the future. Then he says that no bad stuff ever happened to him from their policies. If you only leave a company after they screw you then you will never prevent grievances, only punish them.

  4. Buran says:

    Chase linked my new credit card account to my old one when I had my card stolen. I had to re-dispute the fraudulent charges and get yet another card.

    Apparently, all banks have nitwits working for them. But then considering how big most banks are, this is statstically almost a given.

    Fortunately, since that time I have not had another problem although I think my putting, in WRITING, “do not link the card this time around” in a letter might have had something to do with it.

    My only recurring bill on my credit card is my City of Heroes account, which I could always switch to prepaid (fortunately — time cards are easy to come by) if I ever have this problem again. In fact, I probably would have to since NCSoft has stopped taking Mastercard … just about the only time I’ve heard of someone taking Visa but not MC.

  5. Buran says:

    Oh, and by the way, this sort of thing is why I don’t use regular mail anymore — I use e-bills. (That, and the fact that I don’t have to pay to send bills anymore). I’ve tried to talk my parents out of just putting bills on their front porch, but they think I’m overly paranoid. They also think I’m in the wrong for refusing to let “greeters” peer in my bags on the way out of stores and that it’s illegal to refuse to stop.

    People like them are why crooks get away with this sort of thing and why big business thinks it can nose into our personal belongings.

  6. Brad2723 says:

    Based on everything posted on this site concerning BOA, it would seem that this is a bank nobody should do business with. They don’t care what happens to their customers’ money.

  7. timmus says:

    I quit Bank of America in January 2002 as someone was stealing money from our commercial checking account using a simple ABA/account combination. The clincher was everyone at BoA had their head up their ass about whether further withdrawals would post to a closed account. Nobody would tell me “no”, so I had fears (well founded, apparently) that they would redirect the postings to my new account.

    I went with a small regional bank and haven’t looked back.

  8. TinaT says:

    Checks? What is this, the 20th century? I’ve written 4 checks in the last year.

  9. mkguitar says:

    When my bank closed my checking account:
    “please close my checking account, we have had checks stolen or lost”
    They did link the new account and old account…it was ONLY because I asked again ( 3rd time) for assurance that the old account was dead, inactive and an ex-parrot…it was then she smilingly said “don’t worry if any checks come thru on the old account, we’ll take them from the new one”

    I said, do you remember how this conversation started?

    World Savings, scottsdale AZ

    MK

  10. CaptainRoin says:

    @mkguitar: I’m sure that account was just pining for the fjords.

  11. DuckFOO says:

    My wife has a BOA account that was once an Apple Loan account (issued originally by MBNA). I take care of scheduling the payment of this debt and when I logged in this month, I noticed my wife had a new credit card associated with the login.

    Since the charges were things that I was not familiar with, I called her to ask about them. It turns out that the card is a credit card provided to her by her employer for work related expenses.

    This makes me wonder how this happened, and if I was a betting man, I would say that BOA is blindly associating accounts by SSN.

  12. Buran says:

    @CaptainRoin: It has ceased to be!