SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – Most of us know there are laws that protect us from fraud regarding our bank accounts. In most cases, these protections limit how much money we’d lose to about $50.
But these protections don’t cover every type of fraud. We uncovered a loophole that could keep consumers from getting their money back if this kind of fraud hits a bank account.
Denise Blankenship woke up to find someone fraudulently drained her bank account.
“Every morning I check my bank, I’ve done that meticulously all my life,” said Blankenship.
She was devastated to see her entire bank balance, gone, “I was horrified.”
She saw there were two online wire transfers; one for $879 and another for $347 to someone in the Midwest. And to make the situation worse, the money from the fraudulent transfer came out before her house payment cleared.
Blankenship thought to herself, “There’s a name, and there’s an account number where it went. I thought this is easy we can fix this.”
Her bank admits someone fraudulently accessed her account online and wired the money to a woman in Columbus, Ohio.
But ten weeks later Blankenship’s bank still hadn’t returned her money, forcing her to use credit cards.
Beth Mills with the California Bankers Association says in many cases of fraud the most you’re liable for is $50, if you report it right away under federal law.
But we’ve learned this type of domestic wire transfer is not part of that federal protection.
Although Mills says, the industry standard is to refund you, if they determine in their investigation that it’s fraud.
“Often a lot of the funds are immediately replaced back into the consumers account while the investigation (is) going on,” said Mills.
Though that’s not what happened in Blankenship’s case. But after we reached out to her bank they credited her account saying they typically do within 30-days of the reported fraud. They called it a bank error that it took so long to return the money.
Blankenship is unnerved, that her money vanished that fast and for so long.
“I want assurance our money are safe,” she said.
To help protect yourself from this or other types of fraud, implement tough security questions and a 2-step authentication to keep people from logging into your accounts.
Also, we wanted to know if you can turn off the ability to wire money. Chase says yes, Wells Fargo and Bank of America said no. US Bank refused to answer.