Bank Of America Lets Identity Thief Withdraw $40,000 In A Single Day

Bank of America twiddled their thumbs as an identity thief withdrew over $40,000 from Chris Hooley’s account over five transactions in a single day. Chris canceled his Bank of America debit card immediately after he lost his wallet, which should have put a big red flag in Bank of America’s system to stop them from handing over tens of thousands of dollars to a stranger. Apparently it didn’t!

Chris only noticed the massive withdrawals after the police arrested the thief.

They said they caught this guy at BestBuy trying to use somebody else’s credit card to buy a whole bunch of computers. Apparently BestBuy’s register system pops up an alert code if there is somebody trying to use a card that has been reported lost or stolen, and they call the cops. Impressive. The police caught the guy red handed. With drugs. And paraphernalia. And a bunch of people’s personal information.

At the time, I thought they got the sucker before he could do any real damage. But just to be safe, I checked with Bank of America. I was shocked to see my account was overdrawn by almost $300. Last I checked, I had almost 40k in there.

A quick review turned up 5 suspicious transactions. Two were deposits, and three were withdrawals. All five transactions occurred *inside* five different Bank of America banking centers. What amazed me most is the final two transactions. A withdrawal of 26k. And later that day, another withdrawal of 12.5k. Way to spot suspicious activity Bank of America. They handed the guy almost 40k in cash in one day.

Turns out the first two transactions where not just deposits. They were checks written to me, Christopher Hooley. The first one was $6200. The guy kept $5k and left $1200 in my account. The next one was a day later at a different center for $7500. Again, the guy kept $5k. I saw the debit slip online, and this guy’s signature wasn’t even a remote attempt to copy mine. To make matters worse, it turns out he was forging checks from another valley business, who subsequently called the police on ME!

Great work protecting your customers, Bank of America!

Way to Spot Suspicious Activity Bank of America [Chris Hooley's - ThinkBait-]
(Photo: Getty)

Comments

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  1. bohemian says:

    Wow, way to fail BoA. Try taking out more than $5grand at most banks and it takes an act of Congress and a priest. Even a couple of transactions out of the ordinary or out of town will lock down most accounts in the name of security.

  2. rpm773 says:

    I bought a book at the O’Hare airport book store and withdrew $100 from an ATM, and they froze my card due to suspected identity theft. Sounds like they’ve made an adjustment to their algorithm.

  3. nix-elixir says:

    BOA has absolutely ZERO “security” for this. I watched a co-worker of mine get bilked again and again by an identity thief for over 2 weeks. Her checkbook and wallet were stolen and every time she closed an account or tried to freeze it, the thief would open another one in her name and BOA let it all happen over and over. I thank all your gods that I don’t bank there.

  4. Squeegoth says:

    What state did this happen in?

  5. coren says:

    @Squeegoth: Arizona, I believe.

    Good luck getting back your money, OP

  6. Skeptic says:

    We have to stop using the phony term “Identity Theft.” The thieves didn’t steal an idenity, they defrauded Bank of America, who was stupid enough to give away money.

    This British radio skit covers it pretty well:

  7. PsychicPsycho3 says:

    I wish I had a choice, BofA bought the bank I had a credit card with.

    …Who leaves $40,0000 in their checking account anyway?

  8. vision4bg says:

    @PsychicPsycho3, I was wondering the same thing.

    $40k is $1400 a year in lost interest in a savings account. Crazy.

    Wish I could easily get my USD over to Australia, where you can get 8.5%. [www.bankwest.com.au]

  9. Silversmok3 says:

    Sounds like the thief knew someone at B of A on the inside.

    If I walked up to my bank requesting a 26K withdrawal Id be expecting a visit from Deerfield IL’s Finest and a healthy chat.

    To take out $12,500 again on the same account,especially when the card was cancelled and there was a previous huge witdrawal of $26,000 the same day without any holds or questions asked suggsts insider problems with B of A.

  10. SaveMeJeebus says:

    Is this the same BofA that wouldn’t let a customer spend $4000 at Best Buy because they were “protecting” him?

  11. Xay says:

    @PsychicPsycho3: @vision4bg:
    There is such a thing as an interest bearing checking account.

  12. ModernDayGilligan says:

    It seems there aren’t too many minimum wage people writing into Consumerist these days…

    $40K in your checking account?!

  13. Imaginary_Friend says:

    I can’t believe I’m typing this: Three cheers for BestBuy!

    Ugh. I need a bath and a bottle of vodka. Don’t ever make me do that again, Carey.

  14. Amy Alkon000 says:

    I’m also a victim of what I refer to as Bank of America’s spectacular negligence. In my case, Bank of America’s tellers, on seven separate occasions, gave a total of $12,000 of my money to thieves with a fake driver’s license in my name with the wrong expiration date. No PIN was required. The signature was not verified to me mine. And they handed my money over like it was lettuce. Meanwhile, after nearly 20 years of being a customer, Bank of America is firing me as a customer as of the end of July; apparently, because I complained a bit too much that they failed their fiduciary duty to me by not doing more to verify who they were giving my money to.

    Meanwhile, there are at least two women out there with a fake license in my name, leaving me open to being arrested for a crime I didn’t commit, and potentially causing me numerous other serious problems. Had BofA done the most minimum due diligence to verify identity of people they gave $1000 or more on seven separate occasions, in places I have never been and probably never will go, it’s very likely these women would be in custody and those licenses in my name would be in a police evidence locker now.

    I have actually been investigating this ever since, and I will be posting a bombshell on my blog on Monday. And there’s even more that I’m not posting.

  15. Scuba Steve says:

    This kind of general nincompoop-ery is generally responsible for congressional hearings and subsequent regulatory bitchslap that BOA and other banks so richly deserve.

  16. Melt says:

    Hate to say this, but love Wells Fargo where they verify who you are by you swiping your ATM card and entering your PIN while at the teller window. Not a bad way to verify things. In this case, no PIN, no cash.

    • mzlinax3 says:

      @Melt: Bank of America has been doing that too but if a customer forgets his or her debit card, they can’t refuse a customer to take money out of his or her own account.

  17. floraposte says:

    I wonder if BOA is going to chase the OP for the overdraft fees.

  18. oldwiz says:

    BOA pays enough to congressmen and federal regulators, so they won’t be slapped. If you pay enough in bribes, you can get away with most anything.

  19. Joe S Chmo says:

    I bet they did not fill out a Supscious Acvtivity Report (SAR) either. So, do a search and read up about SARs so you can report this bank. If they willfully did not fill out this form they can face up to a $250,000 fine and even imprisonment for the teller. Good luck, get your money back and get even.

    • mzlinax3 says:

      @MRsteve: An SAR is only necessary when the associate conducting the transaction is suspicious of the transaction. People are stupid and make stupid mistakes. However, what is important to fill out is a Currency Transaction Report. The IRS requires all business to complete one if a cash transaction of at least $10k is conducted.

  20. th1nwhiteduke says:

    @PsychicPsycho3: Gasp! Someone with different spending habits than you! They must be insane!!1

  21. Pro-Pain says:

    Actually, Best Buy is going to cause themselves a world of hurt calling the police while a customer is standing in front of them commiting fraud. With how unstable people are these days, if this guy was a hardened criminal with ZERO intent of going back to jail and possesed a handgun then what? Huh Best Buy smart guys?? The guy starts shooting up the place. Major lawsuit. Major. I thought it was policy to deny the card, let the criminal leave, then get his plate number, personal and vehicle description, THEN call the police. NEVER hold up or confront a criminal, not ever. Heroes die all to often. This story proves to me that BoA are total and complete morons. I bet it takes weeks for this poor guy to get his money back. I’d NEVER bank there, not ever.

  22. Pro-Pain says:

    @Amy Alkon: Damn. I am truely sorry about what happend to you Amy. That is terrible. I hope those worthless souls that did that to you get caught and rot in prison for decades. Something needs to be done about this kind of theft, and quickly. Congress needs to enact legislation that makes this kind of FRAUD punishable by no less than 20 years in prison. That ought to deter at least the smarter of the vile idiots. Best wishes to you and getting your situation sorted out. I will tell everyone who asks me about BoA your horror story. What an incompitant bank. I’m mortified…

  23. The_Gas_Man says:

    Way to go, Bank of America!

    Apparently BestBuy’s register system pops up an alert code if there is somebody trying to use a card that has been reported lost or stolen, and they call the cops. Impressive.

    Did anyone else find this funny?

    @Pro-Pain:
    Lay off the caffeine there, buddy!

  24. ScarletsWalk says:

    I thought if you did a transaction at a bank for more than $10,000 at a time you had to fill out extra paperwork required by the feds. Wouldn’t proper id and verification just kinda come naturally with that?

  25. Shadowfire says:

    @ScarletsWalk: Someone else mentioned the SAR above. That information should be on file, and the police should be able to get a hold of it easily.

  26. kyle4 says:

    This is a massive, massive error on their part and I wonder if it could be cause for a lawsuit.

    @Amy Alkon:
    I’ve been intrigued about this story ever since you mentioned it, and I have happened to check out your blog before. If you’re investigating it yourself, that’s pretty badass.

  27. Aisley says:

    @Silversmok3:

    You’re soooo right Silver. That’s exactly what I thought as soon as I started reading this mess. I “bank” with a credit union and they just allow you to withdraw $750.00 per day. And to whithdraw that amount I have to bring I don’t know how many id’s, my neighbor when I lived overseas and my mother, who by the way died 20 years ago!

  28. btdown says:

    “I thought if you did a transaction at a bank for more than $10,000 at a time you had to fill out extra paperwork required by the feds. Wouldn’t proper id and verification just kinda come naturally with that?”

    Actually the bank fills it out on you..Don’t need to notify you or obtain any of your info. They can also fill out the paperwork if they feel you’ve been structuring transactions to get around the limit.

  29. BayardMozie says:

    Although it won’t prevent ID theft, use credit cards instead of debit cards.
    That way if someone gets your debit card Visa/MC/etc. number and buys a
    bunch of stuff, the money is out of your account instantly. At least with a
    credit card the money is still in your hands while you dispute the charges.

  30. Subliminal0182 says:

    @btdown: @Shadowfire: @ScarletsWalk:

    Just for clarification: a CTR( Curency Transaction Report) is filled out when there is a cash transaction involving $10,000.01 or more. It is kept at the bank as a record and also sent electronically to the gov’t for tax/anti money laundering purposes. The bank tellers have to fill this out either in front of you, or get your info down to fill out later..in other words, YOU WILL KNOW IT IS BEING FILLED OUT. If you refuse, then a SIR is filled out w/o your knowledge. A SSN is required to fill out a CTR (second question in the CTR form), and yes you can make one up but minutes later the branch gets a call from the CTR monitoring dept which’ll notify the teller that the SSN is incorrect (had this happen when I first became a teller..took em 15 minutes)

    SAR/SIR (suspicious ACTIVITY/INCIDENT report) is a report filled out by the bank employee in the case of a suspicious INCIDENT or series of incidents referred to as ACTIVITY. You, the bank’s client, are not supposed to know there is one being filed on you. It is given to the federal agencies (FBI, etc). This is only filled out if you refuse to fill out a CTR, or if you’re informed of the CTR by the teller and you only take out $10,000 even or less (usually people get scared that it’s being reported to the govt and don’t want to fill it out..but then a SIR is filled and the govt knows about it anyway).

  31. Marshfield says:

    @Melt:

    Yes, double thumbs up for Wells Fargo needing your pin at the teller window. I think I’ve seen this at WaMu too.

  32. scoosdad says:

    A week ago I withdrew $1200 in cash from BofA at a teller’s window, and she did not ask me to put in my PIN as a condition. I was really surprised and almost said somthing to a manager about it.

    Apparently the fact that I had my checking account number written out on the slip was good enough for her. But anyone I’ve written a check to already has that info. Idiots.

  33. Every time I read about Bank of America they are screwing their customers in exactly this way. The thought of doing business with them makes me sick.

    @xay: Not that pay out anywhere near as much as a good savings account or money market account — let alone a CD. And definitely not from Bank of America.

  34. Qu33nZR3p1n9 says:

    @scoosdad:

    I am surprised I work for WaMu, and I know we require ID,PIN, Signature (Signature must be sing in front of teller) to withdrawal more then 1,000 and we verify ID # and exp day with our records, as well as signature. Anything over 5k would require future security question and measures.

    I am really surprised such a big bank like BOA has less security features to protect there customers; This is evident with these big corporate Bank they loose there seance of “Customer first”.

  35. weave says:

    @Subliminal0182: Hmm, I’ve done quite a few $10k+ transactions in the past year and was never told one of these were going to be filled out.

    * Numerous shuffling of those amounts between ING and checking accounts
    * A check for $17k for a new car I paid in cash
    * A couple of $20k+ charges on my Amex, which I had to later move money around and then have Amex debit the charge from my checking account.
    * Two checks for $10k each deposited into checking

    Kinda figured they were being filled out. Didn’t care too much. But was never told.

  36. Justin42 says:

    BofA allowed someone in Georgia to empty one of my accounts (over $10,000)– as I was on the phone with their call center telling them it wasn’t me! I happened to be waiting for a check to clear and had been checking my online activity every day and noticed my checking account was at $0. (instant gulp) I called from a landline in California (Where I live) so there would be no question where I was calling from. The initial CSR had the audacity to mention that “maybe I forgot about a big purchase I had made recently.” I was about to jump through the phone and strangle her. I finally got it through to her that the actions were taking place as I was watching my account online (I actually saw something pop upas I was moving around my online account) and she told me they couldn’t access any record as to what was going on, and where, until after the transaction closed the next business day.

    When I called back I got a bit more info, apparently the person had a Visa card and driver’s license in my name (and somehow the security code on my account had been totally blown off). They actually allowed the person to withdraw OVER the amount in my account, as “we don’t know if perhaps you have a large deposit coming in”– yep, won the lottery, getting the cash early.

    It was a pretty crappy experience all around. They finally got it straightened out but it took letters to the CEO of the bank and my senator (Which was a bluff but it worked– did a faxed version of an EECB with all the cc’s) as they weren’t going to give me my money back for 5 days when their investigation completed (due to the “large amount of money involved”). Uhm, hello, *I CALLED YOU TO TELL YOU IT WAS HAPPENING AND YOU TOLD ME YOU COULDN’T DO ANYTHING*. Got my money back the next day and assurances that everyone who I spoke to was totally in the wrong and they would take it seriously and be sure their call center reps were better trained.

    So yeah, great fraud alerting. They’re probably just so big that it’s easier for them to lose a few dozen grand instead of actually wondering why someone was 3000 miles from home, NOT closing out an account, but taking out all the money in cash.

  37. Justin42 says:

    I should add to my story, I’ve had on and off ID theft issues ever since buying some furniture at Wickes, but I never had lost possession of checks/debit cards/etc. The same week that my bank account was emptied, 2 other people at my work (Who bank at other banks) had their accounts emptied. All of the accounts they hit were the accounts we had our pay direct deposited into, so we suspect some insider at our work (or in the system) is passing info along… probably some sort of long string of insider attacks on systems (people who work at large employers having “friends” who work inside large banks).

  38. Subliminal0182 says:

    @weave: Sorry I must’ve not clarified, a CTR is only done with $10,000.01 or more in cash, cash being the important thing. Anything electronic (#1,3 you mentioned), transactions involving checks (like #2 and 4 you mentioned) are exempt. A check being cashed for more than $10k, however, there’d be a CTR.

    Also, the tellers can’t really fill em out w/o you knowing because they need certain information, such as current occupation, SSN, current address, etc. Sure, that sometimes can be taken from your profile, but if it’s incorrect, the teller gets in trouble (at the bank I work at, 2 CTR violations are you’re terminated-violations can include even misspelling your name or DOB in incorrect order).

  39. FrankReality says:

    Can’t wait for the next installment “Who get Screwed” from Mr. Hooley regarding the outstanding service he’s going to get from BofA.

  40. FairMarkets says:

    @weave: I think those forms are for CASH transactions.

    My BOA branch makes me swipe and enter a PIN too. But if the debit card was canceled, the thief probably used this to his advantage by claiming the card was canceled and therefore could not be used as proof. However, you would think that a signature card would have been used for a transaction of this size.

  41. rhobite says:

    @MRsteve: SAR’s and CTR’s are filed with the government to report possible money laundering and tax evasion. They are not intended to prevent identity theft, nor are they acted upon instantly. One, an SAR would not have prevented this theft. Two, it’s callous of you to suggest fining and imprisoning an entry-level teller for what is clearly an institutional problem with B of A’s fraud detection systems.

  42. floraposte says:

    @Pro-Pain: I suspect the Best Buy clerk doesn’t actually make the call to the police right in front of the customer for the very reason you’re suggesting. It’s probably a code to a manager, who then calls the police from outside of the prospective buyer’s vision.

  43. Fly Girl says:

    My family went through a similar issue with BofA’s LACK of security. Turns out my little bro developed a nasty addiction. No one knew about it– he was hiding it pretty well.

    My mother has a corporate account that is mostly for tax purposes and not much else– because she is self-employed, she stocks away a percentage of her money in a BofA account so that she’s got money to pay the taxman with at the end of the year. Other than semi-regular deposits, that account doesn’t see much action– it definitely doesn’t see many withdrawals.

    My mom had one of those binder looking checkbooks for the corporate account, with her name and the corporation name on the checks. No one else was authorized to access or use the account, and the checks rarely (if ever) got used.

    My little bro knew about the checks and the account. He stole a few sheets of checks out of the back of the checkbook (so, the check numbers were out of order, too) and started to write checks to himself and to his dealer. (Apparently some dealers will take checks… Interesting.)

    Over a three month period, my brother was able to siphon $20,000 out of the account by forging checks to himself and his dealer in amounts varying from $25.00 to over $5,000.00. Each of the checks looked like, well, a crackhead filled them out and signed them. He didn’t even TRY to forge my mom’s signature. Even a trained monkey could have told they were stolen.

    Each time, without any question, BofA would let him walk right in and cash the check. No questions asked. And this was on an account that checks were NEVER used on, in a check sequence that was OUT OF ORDER, on OBVIOUSLY forged checks.

    How did we find out about the theft, and by proxy, about the addiction? A freakin’ MONEY TREE called us. It was a Saturday afternoon and the bank was already closed, but my bro was hard up for some dinero. He wrote himself a $50.00 check and brought it down to the local Money Tree. The cashier suspected fraud and went into the backroom to call my mom to ask her if she had written a check to my brother. Of course, my mom said no. The clerk held the check and refused to cash it. My brother knew his jig was up and went home to confess.

    The gatdammed Money Tree was competent enough to protect my mother, and her money, but BofA couldn’t seem to do the same for their own client. When my mom went into the BofA to tlak to the branch manager and ssess the damange, they wouldn’t even apologize, let alone accept any culpability. Sure, my brother was a junkie and a theif. And sure, my mom should have been monitoring her account for any suspoisious activity. We weren’t denying any fault. But for fuck’s sake, BofA REALLY messed up. Like, BIG TIME.

    They informed us that, while they accepted no responsiblity, they would only give the money back to my mom if they pressed charges against my brother. My parents decided that was not the outcome they wanted, so they ate the $20k loss. Andthrough the whole ordeal, BofA wouldn’t so much as apologize, insiting that they had done everything “by the book” and that they had no fault in the matter. They even claimed that is isn’t their policyt to verify any checks oveunder $5k, because that would just be too much work. WHAT?! I don’t care if a forged check for $.50 or $50,000.00 us being crowritten on my account– I want my bank to verify that ALL of them are valid.

  44. Fly Girl says:

    Whoops- sorry about the typos on the bottom half of that post– hit “submit” too soon.

    Anyways, happy ending: after six months of rehab and a long journey to recovery, my bro’s been clean for over a year. And we’re no longer BofA customers.

  45. dweebster says:

    @Fly Girl: (but tell your mom to get a vault for that checkbook just to be on the safe side…)

  46. @Skeptic:We have to stop using the phony term “Identity Theft.” The thieves didn’t steal an idenity, they defrauded Bank of America, who was stupid enough to give away money.

    I agree 100%. It is ridiculous that people can get away with this. It is ridiculous that a bank will give all your money to some random person. It is also ridiculous that the victim is stuck with all the paper work to restore their life.

  47. Mozoltov, motherfucker says:

    BofA gave a lady up in SF an account with the same account mumber as mine. So I went to go get gas one day and found my account empty. I asked for copies of the checks and found out the lady and I had the exact account number, and she wrote a few checks at Foot Locker. If I didn’t have that CD there I would lose BofA completely. I already emptied my checking account and use ING>

  48. Fly Girl says:

    @dweebster: Done and done. Just ’cause he’s clean now doesn’t mean that any one is going to tempt fate! :)

  49. forgottenpassword says:

    Ok, I am going to be one of thoese “debit cards are just not worth it” types. If you can handle the real responsibility of a credit card …. then it doesnt make sense to use a debit card. At least credit cards have pretty much ironclad protection policies. Its often up to the bank’s policies itself whether they will give you back money that was stolen out of your account via debit card. Note: I believe one of the big two (visa or mastercard) is now offterning decent debit card protection…..I think it is visa).

    ANd who keeps $40,000 in a check account1!!!? A rich person?

    I figure $5,000 tops in the checking account is ok. I personally keep less than $2,000 in mine. The rest is in savings.

    I am not blaming the customer, because after all…he did the right thing by reporting his card stolen as soon as possible. BOA is the one at fault here. Scary that they can let this slip past them.

    I have always hated BOA since they took over boatman’s bank (my old bank long ago) & then changed my account status without telling me & started charging fees like mad. Dropped them like a cot rock, went to commerce bank (the midwest chain), I have yet to have a single problem with them.

    Btw….. Just curious,..is the guy going to get his money back that BOA just gave to the thief?

  50. bwcbwc says:

    @forgottenpassword: I would put it more like: keep 1 to 2 months of expenses in checking. If you spend $2,500 a month then $5,000 is about your max. But for some people that’s just the mortgage (or the electric bill).

  51. Cynicor says:

    BoA disappeared a $4000 counter deposit I made a couple of weeks ago. Gone! No trace. Fortunately I had put the checks in the hands of a teller instead of an ATM, and I had the deposit receipt.

    I went back the next day to kindly request my effing money, and they blamed it on being short-staffed and put a $3999 credit into my account.

  52. Angryrider says:

    Bank of America, Bank of Opportunistic Bastards.

  53. For muslims collecting interest is considered a sin. Most don’t care or excuse it as being a way to help offset inflation. So a person was a strict follower of islam they would keep the majority of their cash in checking or other non interesting bearing account

  54. eddmel says:

    Forgottenpassword asks:

    “ANd who keeps $40,000 in a check account1!!!? A rich person?I figure $5,000 tops in the checking account is ok. I personally keep less than $2,000 in mine. The rest is in savings.”

    I keep $40,000 in my checking account because I need to. My checks to American Express each month often are over $15,000. There are also other large checks I write.

    We must remember that just because we have a certain lifestlye and financial situation, that does not mean everyone else who reads this blog is like us. I think alot of us live our lives surrounded by people like us and we forget that other people live vastly different lives…but sometimes we go to the same blogs.

    I usually find this blog interesting. But sometimes I’m surprised by the people here who seem to be living on the edge financially and apparently think it’s ok.

  55. SacraBos says:

    @Skeptic: I love it! It hits it spot on. Before “Identity Theft” became the big buzzword, this type of thing absolutely would have been called bank fraud, forgery, etc.

    I tell you, even thought it’s a British Skit, if the OP ever takes this to court to get their money back, I think it would be worth playing this to the jury to get them to understand how the bank was at fault. Mine checks my drivers license everytime I’m at the teller. It’s a credit union, which tends to be popular type of institution around here.

  56. snowburnt says:

    @xay: the difference in rates on a checking vs savings is usually between 1 and 3 percent on US accounts. There are a few exceptions like eTrade where you can get 3.5 on checking if you have like 10k in there.

  57. picardia says:

    @forgottenpassword: I’m sorry, but that’s some of the stupidest financial “advice” I’ve ever heard. Use a credit card (with interest rates and fees that click in even if you pay it all back within the month) rather than a debit card (which is your cash on hand)? That’s a really terrible idea. Better by far for banks to protect the debit cards that work better for everyone involved.

    And although I am not a wealthy person, I’ve sometimes kept checking balances as high as $20K. It depends on what check(s) you’re about to write.

  58. Silversmok3 says:

    @picardia:
    One problem:

    The reason thie very article exists is because , on a debit card, its YOUR money. So if its lost ,stolen or compromised, why does the bank care about replacing YOUR hard earned money?
    Its not percieved to be their problem because they don’t suffer from losing YOUR money.

    A credit card is the banks own money on loan.So youd better believe if theres fraud, theyll kill it in a hurry.
    Not only are you only liable for $50 if disaster happens,but the bank has a reason to stop any fraud.

  59. krom says:

    Consumerist Bank Story Posting Algorithm

    1. Banks are doing something that doesn’t help the customer.
    2. Does BoA do it?
    – Yes: Did we get a sub about BoA doing it?
    – Yes: Post it!
    – No: Find a story on BoA doing it, and post it.
    – No: Wait until BoA does it, then repeat #2.

  60. coren says:

    @picardia: If you pay it off properly, there are many cards where you’ll only pay the annual fee (if there is one) for your card, and meanwhile be earning rewards for high usage of said card. Sounds like win/win to me

  61. Roclawzi says:

    That’s it, I’m taking all my money out of banks and burying it in the yard. I wish I were serious, but I can’t get direct deposit in my yard and my work really prefers it. My problem with BoA was not in the account I had, though I loved how much they fought me when a service my wife had used through Direct Withdrawal wouldn’t stop charging us, claiming that since she gave them access once, they could keep it.

    My problem was closing my account. I went in person, with my wife, closed out the account in the form cash and certified checks (had a couple of bills that I wasn’t going to have checks for yet). I insisted on some sort of confirmation that the account was closed, but all they gave me was a copy of the request. I hadn’t used any checks or my bank card in over a week and had asked to make sure that the amounts were correct so that it would be closed, and they told me there was nothing showing on their system. Instead of just closing the account, they pushed through 3 transactions the next day that were automatic withdrawals from online subscriptions that my wife couldn’t get canceled. The companies involved were simply agreeing to cancel the subscriptions and then ignoring it. While I know there were other options, I had had enough with BoA anyway so I just figured I’d close the account and change banks. They let the 3 transactions through on my “closed” account, and then charged me overdraft fees and started charging service charges to the account. I called and they canceled the fees, but wanted the 55 dollars from the original transactions. I told them I wasn’t going to pay them and if they left the account open there would be more charges I wasn’t going to pay for, and if they closed it as a bad account and posted it to my credit score, it would end up in court. They told me they were holding the account open and I had to pay, but 2 days later I got a notice from them in the mail that the 55 dollars was forgiven and the account was closed. This was 2 years ago, and I still haven’t seen anything on my credit report, so hopefully that’s the end of it.

  62. floraposte says:

    I don’t even have an annual fee, and I get rewards; nor do I incur finance or late fees. And I’m hardly a big-deal customer. The reward percentages overall (considering where I spend money) exceed the interest rate on any checking accounts I could get, too. I think banks should also protect debit cards, but picardia, there are credit card deals much, much better than the one you describe.

    But I also think it’s an individual decision, and that BOA should have acted more responsibly. I wonder if opening a new account and moving the money into it would have been enough, or if he would have had to actually change banks.

  63. AskTheAdmin says:

    I got hit from HSBC with a similar scam in the amout of 17,500 or so. They let someone withdraw this money in 3 transactions in canada. I have a card from the US of A.

    But they have no problem freezing my card when I tried to buy 7g’s worth of AV equipment.

    Way to go banks! Keep us trusting you!

  64. mythago says:

    Did I read right that the thief deposited a check and got cash back? That is the very oldest bank scam in the book, and the exact reason that bank tellers make you show ID to deposit a check if you don’t deposit the entire check. How did BofA miss this?

  65. pythagoras says:

    A friend of mine is currently going through hell with BofA as well.

    Her card was stolen two weeks ago. She immediately canceled her card and got a new one. There was some problem with the activation on the new card, and she spent quite a while battling with CSRs to get it sorted out. She finally got it all taken care of and everything seemed fine for a few days.

    Late last week she was shopping and her _new_ card was denied numerous times. She called BofA and was told that she was overdrawn $888,000.

    $888,000. Eight hundred and eighty-eight thousand dollars.

    The phone representatives told her that she needed to visit a BofA branch to talk with somebody in person.

    She spoke with a number of people at the branch before anybody would tell her why her card was so ridiculously overdrawn. Apparently the bank decided that they wanted to close her account (no reason given), so they withdrew $888,000 in order to “flag the account.” She was not overdrawn before the incident, and demanded that they give her the money that she had in the account. They refused, saying that they would mail her a check within 10 days.

    On top of all that, they are threatening to report her massive bank-fabricated debt to ChexSystems.

    She currently has no credit, is about to get married, and just moved from Washington to California. Her BofA account was her only bank account, and she has been without any ability to pay for anything for the past four days (and counting).

    The double whammy of going to ChexSystems for false debt and being without access to her money for an undetermined amount of time looks like it could pretty well ruin her financial life for at least the near future. Not to mention the pain and hassle of trying to get everything corrected.

  66. kd1s says:

    What most people don’t realize is that most banks aren’t actually online all the time. Banks are notoriously cheap about network connections. A lot of times the account info is replicated once or twice a day to in-house System 36 or System 38 type systems, so there’s a several hour window when the batch info isn’t current.

    A thief could exploit this easily.

    The banking system was fine when it was just ATM cards. Once they tied it into POS systems the wheels came off and that’s the end of it.

  67. Caveat says:

    For those ignorant enough to blame Chris for having $40,000 in a checking account, first of all nobody indicated it was a checking account. It could have been a money market account. Today some money market accounts pay some of the best interest rates AND you can move the money immediately if you think your bank is going under AND they are a very good place to hold money, rather than locking it in while you wait for CD interest rates to climb back up. The problem is whether BofA will give Chris back his money. They will probably try to say that he gave out his pin number or something…

  68. BIG WHEEL says:

    @eddmel: “We must remember that just because we have a certain lifestlye and financial situation, that does not mean everyone else who reads this blog is like us. I think alot of us live our lives surrounded by people like us and we forget that other people live vastly different lives…but sometimes we go to the same blogs.

    I usually find this blog interesting. But sometimes I’m surprised by the people here who seem to be living on the edge financially and apparently think it’s ok.”

    Take your own advice and remember everyone is different. I don’t know how many people out there just keep $40,000 in their chequing (ya, I’m Canadian), but even amongst the rich, I bet it’s a small percentage. You come off sounding like an elistist d-bag who is looking down on people who have less.

  69. oldheathen says:

    That pisses me off so much as Bofa recently put a hold on one of my final paycheck issued by the *county*, for pete’s sake. I had recently moved from another state and as a “new customer” could only access $200 of those funds for ten days…so at least 8 of which Bofa had that money to play with and I didn’t.

    The fact that their ATMs also can’t read postal money orders ticks me off, too. I guess it’s the usual “I hate them so much but their ubiquity forces me to do business with them” gripe.

  70. TheLemon says:

    @BIG WHEEL: @eddmel: I know many people who keep that much in their checking accounts, for various reasons. As someone else mentioned, it may have been a MMA. Either way, it’s not that out of the ordinary. I keep that much around in “liquid” funds also. There really is a great financial range of commentors at the Consumerist.

  71. pollyannacowgirl says:

    This pales in comparison, but just the other day, I went in to the bank to get a balance on my account. Turns out, the teller gave me the balance to another person’s account. The account numbers weren’t even CLOSE. The balance was within $150 of what I guessed I had, but I wound up over-drawing and THAT’S when I took a closer look at the account number on the stub.

    I gave the teller a copy of my latest statement so she could type the account number directly, and gave her my ID. I have a fairly unusual name, too.

    That teller must have been smoking CRACK.

  72. Fly Girl says:

    @oldheathen: I had the same problem with a check from the STATE OF WASHINGTON. No kidding. It was for just over $4,000. It wasn’t even drawn from a rival bank, it was drawn from the WASHINGTON STATE TREASURY. My account wasn’t new, it wasn’t overdrawn. I had never bounced a check before. I was about as low-risk as they come.

    They just said that since it was a check, in a large denomination, that they were placing a hold on it. A ten *business* day hold, which really means a two week hold– longer if there’s a holiday thrown in!

    When I asked them why they were holding my money back, they said that they needed to guarantee that the check would clear. Ummmm… The check issued from the State of Washington? Ya, I think they’re good for it.

    I asked a manager if he would at least release a PORTION of it (it was my financial aid check and if I didn’t pay my tuition, I was going to get my classes dropped). His answer? No way, Jose. $100 of it was all I got my hands on until the full ten days passed.

    When I pressed the issue about the ten-day rule (does it REALLY take that long for a check to clear?! can’t they just release the hold once the check goes through?!), I was informed by the manager that my check might *technically* clear after just one business day, but that they were going to restrict my access to it just to “make sure.” Make sure that what?! The state doesn’t call to take the money back?

    I talked to another rep who tried to convince me that it really DID take ten days for a check to clear– I went so far as to ask her if they sent the check to the state treasury and then the state treasurer himself drove my $4,000 and change back up to the BofA in an armored truck and handed my money over in cold hard cash… I was obviously being facetious, but the lying liar of a rep said that YES, it actually did work something like that.

    WTF?! Do they think I’m freakin’ dumb?! BofA really is the freakin’ worst of the worst of the worst. I’ve got a million stories just like this one, thanks to BofA’s crap policies and business practices.

    I’ve been with my credit union for seven years now and I’ve never, ever had a problem. Not even a single little tiny complaint. They’re *amazing.* Everyone should ditch their bank go to a credit union– I never knew that banking could be this good…

  73. @mythago: Did I read right that the thief deposited a check and got cash back? That is the very oldest bank scam in the book, and the exact reason that bank tellers make you show ID to deposit a check if you don’t deposit the entire check. How did BofA miss this?

    As explained in the link, the wallet came with an ID. The thief looked similar to the victim. Checking ID in this case? Worthless as a form of security, and it’s not like cash back on a deposit is something out of the ordinary.

    It’s kind of like what I previously said about credit cards: If a thief steals your credit card, he’ll probably get your ID too. Add a little slight of hand, and checking ID is no deterrent to fraud. (Better to require PINs like in the UK. Not perfect, but better.)

  74. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    i LOVE credit unions. i have belonged to a total of three in my life, still have accounts at two [one was in my previous state of residence only]
    last week my car’s engine blew up. i kept trying to keep it running because it was paid for but when the repair estimate is twice the car’s RUNNING value…. it’s time to let it go.
    i had the mechanic drop me at the nearest branch of my credit union to apply for a vehicle loan before going car shopping

    the loan officer not only helped me figure out what price range to ask for by pulling up the kelly blue book values for me, she advised me that my credit report showed several recent credit checks [which i knew about, i had a credit card limit raised recently] and advised me [since i have never financed a car purchase before and know nothing about the workings] that i should NOT allow the car dealership to run a credit check since it wasn’t needed [what with the preapproval and all] and it might affect my credit history negatively
    i can’t imagine a commercial bank taking that kind of trouble for a customer

    as a point of interest, when the car salesman tried to run a credit check and i refused, he told me it was ‘to make sure i wasn’t a terrorist because they get fined if they sell a car to a terrorist’

    um… no. credit checks do NOT get you super secret access to the terrorist watch list.
    i refused, he told me to take it up with the finance guy. the finance guy didn’t even ask. he said ‘oh, you’re preapproved with the credit union? sign the intent to purchase, take the keys. when they finalize the loan have them call us to say the check is on the way. drive safe!’

    i especially love that my credit union can communicate with a customer over the phone or via secure internal email 24 hours a day and when my debit card got posted twice for a transaction a couple of weeks ago, they fixed it with two emails back and forth and it only took about 3 days to get the money back.

  75. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    grrr… darn it, sorry, wrong tab! that last was supposed to go under the credit union page

  76. shufflemoomin says:

    So, what happens with the guys money? Is it covered by the banks insurance or what? Will he have to go down the court route to get his money? Also, not to be prejudice, but most people who carry drugs and paraphernalia usually don’t look like the kinda people who should be withdrawing 26k in a bank. That didn’t raise any questions? I may not be the from the US, but BoA seem to be very, very, very bad at running a bank. Which is a bad thing is running a bank is actually what you do…

  77. SweetSassyMolassey says:

    One more BofA nightmare security story here. Last year my wallet was stolen out of my purse at a bar. A week later, I went to take money out at the ATM on a Friday night and was overdrawn $4k. Not right, so I went to my branch first thing the next day. Someone had walked into a BofA with my stolen ID and kited several checks – making fake deposits to inflate the balance, then withdrawing thousands of dollars (by the time the bank realizes the checks are hot, the money is gone). Because my account had been in “good standing”, the teller apparently didn’t ask too many questions. Fine, could happen to a lot of people, my ID was old, etc. I opened a new account, was refunded my money and had a fraud alert placed on the account which would require any depositor/withdrawer to show a certain piece of identification.

    Exactly one week later, the thief performed the SAME maneuver again! Apparently the fraud alert – which is supposed to pop up on the teller’s computer and alert them to get a supervisor – wasn’t placed at all. Cut to me spending another 2 hours on the phone with fraud prevention. It was especially creepy because my branch manager was able to show me on the computer the exact deposit slip that the thief had filled out – with my old address (from my old ID), that I haven’t used in 10 years, that has NEVER matched ANY address I’ve ever given to BofA. Again, my money was refunded, but it was still a complete hassle. I do think that many cases like these must have a teller helping the thieves – doesn’t someone making several large deposits and then one huge withdrawal in the same day set off ANY alarms??

  78. ShadowFalls says:

    Say what you will about Washington Mutual, but at least they have some security against this type of stuff. You can’t withdraw or deposit money into your account without first swiping your debit card and entering in your PIN.

  79. @Melt: Citibank does this too. I hate WF but it appears Citibank is going down the same fee-happy tubes WF inhabits, so i’ll be ditching them soon after 6 years.