Bank account fraud, hacking causes customers to lose hundreds of dollars

ByJason Knowles and Ann Pistone WLS logo
Tuesday, March 8, 2022
How to keep your bank account safe from fraud
Whether using a traditional bank like Chase or an online-only bank like Chime, your account can be vulnerable to hackers and fraudsters.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Whether you use an online-only bank or a traditional one, your accounts can be vulnerable. The Federal Trade Commission said there were more than 33,000 bank fraud reports in 2021. But you may be able to fight a bank account attack by beefing up your own security protocols.

"I could swallow maybe it was $500 or even $1,000, but $13,000 is quite a bit to me," said Orland Park resident and veteran Peter Dolce.

He's has been fighting to get $13,000 back into his Chase bank account, disputing hundreds of transactions. He thinks someone may have his account or debit card information.

Dolce said he did get an alert about a suspicious $254 transaction in November of 2021. That's when he called Chase and discovered several months of ongoing fraud. He said Chase would not issue credits on hundreds of other transactions because he waited too long to report them. He admitted he was not checking his account statements regularly, but is still confused.

"One day they charged up $2,000. And my limit is $500. So my question being how would they allow that to go?" Dolce wondered.

Chase responded saying it monitors accounts continually, and added that its deposit account agreement tells customers to report fraud within 60 days. Chase says as a courtesy it credited some transactions after that "window of eligibility" had expired, "however the other claims were denied. We suggested he reach out to the merchants directly to see if they could offer a refund. This is an unfortunate situation, however, protecting a customer's account must be a partnership between the bank and the customer."

Bank hackers have also gone after at least one customer of the newer online-only bank Chime, which has 13 million customers.

"I was surprised that they handled this so poorly," Maxine Beals of Batavia said.

Beals got a notification that someone withdrew $100 from her account while she physically had her Chime Visa Debit card. She immediately called Chime, and found out even more money was being syphoned from her account.

"There were 12 transactions and I didn't get a notification until the 12th transaction so there was a disconnect, I didn't get alerted until it was way too late," she said.

She said she immediately filed a claim with Chime over the $1,200 gone.

"They told me it was denied almost right away. And they gave me reasons like 'You had your card your possession, so it had to be you'. I'm like what?" said Beals.

After reporting the theft to police, the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, or FDIC, Chime returned the $1,200. But Beals said her confidence was shaken.

"They failed, ultimately, at having the customers back," she said.

Chime tells the I-Team that it can't disclose private account information but "we take matters like this very seriously and our members services team is currently investigating the situation."

In addition to reporting fraud quickly, you can also protect your banking accounts using two factor authentication, have strong passwords and, according to Hank Schless, Lookout Senior Manager of Security Solutions, "The number one way to protect against that is by not reusing your passwords."

Also watch out for skimmers and cameras at gas pumps and ATMS. They can capture your debit card information and your PIN.

"Getting something like a pin is tough but possible, and can cause so much damage, right. No one thinks is gonna happen to them, but it may happen," Schless said.

Don't reuse PINs. If your account at a less secure site is compromised, hackers can match that PIN to your bank account.

And watch out for phishing texts or emails that include links that look like they're from your bank. Call your bank before clicking on them.