Thieves Steal My Identity And Money, Trash My Credit, Bank Abandons Me

“A” says con artists stole her identity and swiped her money, causing checks to bounce and her credit to be damaged. She said Chase has been unwilling to help her and killed her account without refunding the stolen money.

Her tale seems like a nightmare that could happen to anyone and proves that your money is only as secure as your bank’s willingness to stand up for you.

She writes:

My checking account with Chase was broken into and my identity was stolen. I filed a claim to Chase but they dismissed it and told me that they can’t help me. (STRIKE 1)

They will not return my stolen funds and consequently my credit is being screwed, as the thieves wrote checks in my name that were bounced. (STRIKE 2)

All of my original funds are gone and they subsequently closed my account without giving my original money back, telling me there is nothing they can do and to file a lawsuit if I deem it necessary, which I do!. (STRIKE 3)

A seems to be in a litigious mood. What do you think her next step should be?


Edit Your Comment

  1. madmallard says:

    not enough info. Depending on the reason of rejection by Chase, the response differs from nasty letters to notice of compliance with federal law.

  2. INDBRD says:

    Grant the wish.. file the lawsuit!

    If she proved to them the acct had been compromised, as her financial institution they should assist in anyway possible to help her!

  3. sirwired says:

    It’s time to hit Chase’s regulatory agency, as not refunding stolen money is I expect quite illegal. To figure out who that is, and get links to filing a complaint, go here:

  4. SkokieGuy says:

    Far too little detail for anyone to make intelligent suggestions.

    Fortunately, that won’t stop people from commenting.

    What I’d like to know:
    Did she file a police report?
    Did she put a fraud alert on her credit reports?
    Did she cancel and have all her credit card account numbers changed?

  5. duxup says:

    Somehow I feel like I knew more before I read the whole explanation.

  6. Supes says:

    When I see a post with so few details, I automatically assume there’s something important being omitted….

  7. GMFish says:

    My checking account with Chase was broken into

    I’m confused. Did they use a crow bar?

  8. camman68 says:

    So the bank cashed checks from her account – without her signature on them?

    • humphrmi says:

      It’s not like they pull out the signature card from the branch she opened the account at and compare it to every check that clears. Make no mistake, bad on them for the way they’ve treated her… but if you think your signature helps secure your checks, you’re dreaming…

      • vizsladog says:

        I think that’s no longer true in all cases. My sister had someone try to pass a forged check that was otherwise a perfect duplicate of her check and the bank caught it based on the signature. I think they have software that can pick up on anomalies in the signature, just as the State of Oregon does with our mail-in ballots.

        • RvLeshrac says:

          Yes, but your bank doesn’t always cash your cheques, and it doesn’t always receive images of your cheques.

          Wal-Mart, for example, electronically processes cheques and returns the original, with no imaging.

      • camman68 says:

        I understand that banks have gotten lazy…but according to the UCC, a forged check is “not properly payable”. (Revised UCC . 4-401)

        It seems like this would be easy to prove negligence on the part of the bank.

      • sirwired says:

        While it may not keep the bank from paying the check, it is absolutely grounds for getting your money back.

      • not-gonna-tell-ya says:

        Actually in many banks it is EXACTLY like that. Many banks use Sig Verification software that compares EVERY signature against the baseline. Some go as far as adjusting the baseline based on the last X signatures scanned plus the baseline. That way they can account for sloppy handwriting days.

        • humphrmi says:

          Actually the UCC doesn’t require signatures anymore. Drafts can simply say something along the lines of “This draft is preauthorized by your depositor, no signature required.” Then it’s up to you to take it up with the party that cleared the draft.

          Likewise a bank will likely assume that a non-matched signature (if it even has handwriting / signature experts on hand to evaluate them, which is rare) is an attempt by the account holder to disown a draft by altering their signature.

          • thor79 says:

            Yeah signatures don’t mean anything these days. The only way to be protected with a signature is if you get a clerk that actually checks the signature on the credit card. Most of the time they don’t care enough though. Even if they do they’ll probably be told just to sell the merchandise anyway. I used to use my dad’s debit card all the time when I lived with him (for errands and wasn’t officially authorized to do so with the bank, but I was with my dad). Whenever I was required to sign I didn’t bother with trying to fake the signature. I was never challenged based on the signature on the back of the card, which looked nothing like my signature. Same name, totally different signature. The signature doesn’t really mean crap these days.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      The best way to secure lost checks is to change all of your account information, put a hold on the old account, and put a stop payment on any checks that you think are missing.

  9. pop top says:

    There’s no substance to this story whatsoever. Why is Phil still allowed to write?

    • failurate says:

      Is there a pecking order for who gets first picks from the tip box? Maybe they draw straws and Phil is just very unlucky. My father-in-law once lost 15 consecutive coin tosses (coin flip to determine who throws first in our bocce league).

      Are the writers able to contact the OP’s for some follow up questions, to sort of close some of the gaping holes in a story before it is thrown into the snark tank for the feeding frenzy?

      • pop top says:

        I don’t see why they couldn’t do any follow up on the matter. Not that Phil is a good journalist or anything…

      • Julia789 says:

        I have submitted stories, and Consumerist has written me back to clarify details and ask questions before deciding whether or not to post them to the website.

    • MurderGirl says:

      So the “Blame the OP” crowd has morphed into the “Blame Phil” crowd? Good to know.

  10. Excuse My Ambition Deficit Disorder says:

    Next step…EECB and acquire the services of a lawyer that is willing to hold a grudge against Chase until they scream for their mommy….

  11. Eyeheartpie says:

    “Someone somewhere did something that may or may not be justified. There are some details. What do you think?”

    -Phil Villareal

  12. Murbob says:

    Did she ever file a police report??

    No details = bad story = bad advice

    Consumerist needs to filter some of the garbage

  13. msbask says:

    There are too many details missing from this story to even comment.

  14. mmartinek says:

    So wait, they closed the bank account because it has been fully compromised and someone has the bank account information, identifying information to change the address on the account, order new checks, have a new debit card sent, etc. Of COURSE they closed the account. If they leave it open they are liable for all the fraud.

    Most every case of identify theft is going to require filing police reports at one point or another. These are typically required by every company as a step of having the negative credit information removed.

  15. Arcaeris says:

    What’s up with the (STRIKE) thing. Like, is there a limited number of times the bank can screw you over before you have to go somewhere else?

    Also, I wouldn’t call it a “litigious mood” when a bank tells you to take it to court to receive redress for your grievances. A litigious mood is when you slip on a puddle of water on accident and then sue the owner of the sidewalk.

  16. Dragon Tiger says:

    Was this before or after Chase opted out of FDIC coverage?

  17. Amnesiac85 says:

    Strange. I’ve submitted extremely detailed stories before, and got an e-mail back requesting more information. Then this gets through, which has next to no information.

    While I’ve never heard of a bank simply dismissing someone who files a claim saying their account was stolen, I guess your next step is to talk to a lawyer or get your identity stuff straightened out with whatever other credit cards you’re attached to.

  18. MailBoss says:

    This is a sad story but a reality. If you are a victim of IDENTITY THEFT, it will require hundreds of hours to resolve… which equals lost money regardless of whether the bank refunds your losses, which they often do not. And then there’s the damage to your credit. ID Theft is the fastest growing crime in the US – there were over 11 million reported victims of ID theft in the US just in 2009. PREVENTION IS KEY!!!

    Does the victim know how her information was compromised? Only 35% of victims know how their information was taken. We need to be more vigilant protecting our personal information. The majority of victims who know how their info was taken indicate the source as (1) Stolen wallets/purses, (2) stolen mail, or (3) stolen trash – that is, low-tech methods account for the majority of known identity theft, not high tech methods as is commonly believed.

    To protect yourself, use a high security locking mailbox like the MailBoss to keep your mail out of the hands of would-be identity thieves. Also, never send sensitive mail like checks from an unsecured mailbox. Bring bill payments directly to the post office or use online bill pay. Last, always shred sensitive documents (most of which come in your mailbox) before discarding them to thwart dumpster divers.

  19. framitz says:

    To the OP,

    Please fill in DETAILS of the issue.
    As is this story is virtually meaningless.

    Why was this posted?

  20. Saxmoore says:

    Asking us to solve the problems of the submitter?

    How about an informed article with links to previous articles like, “What to do when you identity has been stolen.” Or links to stories of people that have gone through this and how they dealt with it. How about giving some steps to help the submitter? Is this “Joe’s Blog site”, or is it a professional consumer organization?

    I’ll do it this time, but I’m going to need $0.10 a word next time. Or a donation to Columbia School of Journalism.

    At least back in 2006 there was useful information

    Identity Crisis… What to Do If Your Identity is Stolen

    What if an identity thief is creating credit problems for you?

    There’s been a lot of Phil bashing lately, but I haven’t seen any changes addressing the rising chorus.

  21. silverlining says:

    Even not having all the details, A should check with a consumer advocate in her state Attorney General’s office. Though the usefulness of AG offices of course varies by state, I had a case where my checks were stolen, my bank didn’t refund the stolen sum for over a year and were charging me overdraft fees (!!) even though they knew the checks were fraudulent and a police report had been filed. When I finally got the AG involved they miraculously sent me a check within about a week (though I think it should have included interest, but better than nothing.) At the very least the AG’s office can guide A through the steps she needs to take to reclaim her credit and get Chase to give her money back and stop acting like a jerk.