Scammers posing as bank employees drained the accounts of two families.
For Alex Nemirovsky, a Maryland man, it started with a text message.
“They said there was something wrong with my card. I needed to have that card so I could possibly use it overseas,” said Nemirovsky.
In a rush while at the airport, he clicked the link hoping to resolve the issue.
“It had a Citibank logo and everything, and I answered their questions, and they answered great, so I thought my card was fine now,” Nemirovsky said.
But after returning from his trip, he saw his gym payment hadn’t been processed. He then called Citibank.
“I didn’t totally understand what they were saying. Somehow, I made out that $49,000 was withdrawn from my account. I almost fainted. Things became dark around me. I was like, what? It’s not me,” Nemirovsky recalled.
A Colorado couple recently received a call from someone posing as a Chase bank representative. The person asked for Kassie Graham by name and asked about a recent Zelle transfer on their account.
“Somebody is trying to make a Zelle payment for $2,000. No, I didn’t make a payment,” Graham responded.
The caller said the transfer could be reversed with another transfer.
“Unfortunately, $35,000 was transferred from my business account, $23,000 of our personal savings altogether,” said Ryan Graham.
“I hadn’t really let it set in that we wouldn’t get it back,” said Kassie Graham.
For Nemirovsky and the Grahams, both banks denied their fraud claims.
Citibank would not comment specifically on Nemirovsky’s case, but in an email, a spokesperson wrote:
“Modern financial scams targeting Americas of all ages and backgrounds are sophisticated operations and we have a great deal of sympathy for those who fall victim to fraud. We have seen a growing number of scams, ranging from phishing texts, to robocalls and internet and email fraud, and we are deeply committed to doing our part to protect our customers from financial fraud. If a customer receives a suspicious unsolicited message, we urge them to not provide personal or account information and to immediately contact us directly via our Citibank app, website (citi.com), or by calling the customer service number listed on our website. In cases where fraud is reported, we take steps to recall the funds that were taken by fraudsters using a customer’s personal and account information.”
In response to the Grahams’ case, a Chase Bank spokesperson wrote:
“Due to privacy concerns, we cannot discuss this case specifically. However, Chase or any bank would not ask customers to wire money or to send money to anyone to prevent fraud, including to themselves. Customers may ensure that they are speaking to a real employee from their bank by calling the number on the back of their debit or credit card or by visiting their local branch. If customers believe that they may have been a victim of fraud or scams, there’s no need to feel embarrassed or ashamed. It can happen to anyone. What’s most important is to take immediate action. We encourage all customers who suspect fraud or scams to contact their local bank, credit card issuer or local law enforcement; they’ll be able to provide information on the best way to proceed.”
“I can’t make any sense of it. I don’t know what emotions to feel like how does somebody lose their life savings in a second? Just because they thought their bank was trying to help them with their card,” asked Nemirovsky.
If a claim is denied, customers can ask their bank to reconsider its decision or file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The Better Business Bureau is seeing an uptick in bank scam reports. They warn that your bank will never ask you to send money to yourself or someone else.
Scammers can spoof caller ID so avoid answering calls with your bank’s name. Instead, call the number on the back of your ATM card.
Never share one-time passcodes and ignore suspicious texts.