The Red Tape Chronicles has a story about an identity theft victim who allowed herself to be victimized over and over again. Rachel Poor (pictured) noticed some unauthorized spending on her account, reported it, but then continued to use the account and make deposits. Every time she put money end, the crook would overspend it. On top of that, she also got hit with 20 overdraft fees, and so forth. It got so bad that she had to beg her boss for a loan. The article’s author asks, “why a criminal was able to steal money from Poor’s account more than two weeks after she reported it as suspicious.”
Um, we have an idea. She left the account open. The moment you see fraudulent charges, close the account! How is the bank supposed to differentiate between your transactions and the thief’s (or thieves’)? Who knows how long it will be before they take action and issue refunds? Do yourself a massive favor and shut the account down. Otherwise you’ll find yourself living up to the name of Rachel Poor… — BEN POPKEN
UPDATE: Oh, we didn’t see this part:
“As soon as I put money in, he was able to take it out,” she said. “I kept asking why they couldn’t just close the account.” The answer: Accounts that have a negative balance can’t be closed.
Ok, that’s pretty messed. In that case maybe then you walk down to the bank with enough money to cover the fees and the takeouts and say, ok, I want to deposit this, put a hold on the account, and then close it, one right after another? We would also be filing a police report.
We got this entirely wrong. That’s what we get for posting before drinking coffee. Best just read the article. Basically, Rachel got screwed by both her bank and the identity thief. At one point she even zeroed out the balance and tried to close the account, but in the few moments between those two actions, the thief put the balance in the red again. Everything was eventually sorted out, but it took Bank of America a month to set everything straight. Rachel did everything right, and as quick as she could, but it still wasn’t enough. — BEN POPKEN
DOUBLE TROUBLE FOR ID THEFT VICTIM [The Red Tape Chronicles]