Reader M. has a sad and frightening cautionary tale for us all. He’s unemployed, and his debit card was stolen. Now he’s been accused of stealing more than $11,000 from himself and gambling it away at casinos. Bank of America has finished its investigation, and concluded that M. is responsible for the withdrawals, and now must pay back the $11,000 he didn’t spend. At the 20% APR charged for cash advances, naturally.
I have had a situation with Bank of America in which I was robbed, my debit card used to take out over $10,000 dollars in cash advances at casinos locally. A debit card to a rarely used checking account with a 0 balance in it was used. Unbeknownst to me, Bank of America had my credit card which has a $13,000 limit (and has always had a 0 balance) linked to my checking account as an overdraft protection. So the debit card was used with an incorrect PIN at an ATM machine, and then 20 minutes later for the first of 6 separate cash advances authorized by GCA (Global Cash Advance) at 3 different casinos. The cash advances were for $500, $500, $1000, $2000, $3000, $3000 including fees, all of them somehow authorized, never an “irregular activity” flag for an overdraft of $11,000 including fees on my rarely used checking account debit card. I went and did all of the correct procedures in filing a police report, and filling out their affirmation of fraudulent use on my debit card.
Bank of America says they have now concluded their investigation and say that there was no error posted to my account, and are now charging me the $11,000 at a cash advance rate of 20% interest. They failed to give me any good reason for their decision, except that “the signature resembled mine” They were not willing to let me get the forgeries examined by a forensic document analyst, against my real signature, or summon casino video surveillance, or fingerprints on the cash advance receipts. They also will not inform me of my appeal rights or the proper procedures, as they won’t return my phone calls. They could not inform me of how my credit card with a $13,000 limit was ever authorized as an overdraft protection on a checking account I hadn’t used in a year. They have told me this is the final decision and that I am responsible for the debt with no appeal options. They are expecting me to pay a $285 minimum payment next month even though I’ve made a payment this month, my unemployment is running out, and can’t afford to pay this, which will ruin my perfect credit history. I have informed the OCC and filed a complaint with them which is still pending. I have copies of the letters sent to Bank of America’s headquarters, with no response so far. I have contacted several lawyers and none of them can refer me to or tell me of anyone that handles my type of case.
There is more to the story, I just would like to inform the public in any way about this situation of how the bank feels they can place debt on consumers in this manner. I would also like to get the word out there to show how easy it has been for someone to be able to get away scot free with stealing $11,000 dollars through casino cash cages. This story has had several thousand views over at creditboards.com, and I was very surprised due to their knowledgable memberbase, that most of them weren’t even aware of how easy this situation can happen, or what to necessarily do about it.