Person-to-person cash transferring apps come in handy for a lot of folks as a convenient way to pay, but they can be an even better way for scammers to steal your cash.
The clouds of a perfect storm started gathering in Chuck Weaver’s life when he lost his job, nearing the end of a 30-year career.
“I have no income; I have nothing to live on,” he told us.
Then, after losing his insurance, doctors now say he needs a kidney transplant for a deadly disease that runs in his family.
“I’m still shaking,” Chuck continued.
Shaken to his core, to then have all the money he had left from dwindling savings and soon-to-end unemployment, be stolen.
“I honestly don’t know what to do. I’m honestly at a loss right now.”
Chuck says an imposter claiming to be a Bank of America representative called from a spoofed number.
“That’s the kicker, they are calling from a Bank of America, a 1-800 phone number, which if you hang up and call back, you’re calling the corporate office.”
The crook claimed the bank had already stopped a fraudulent transaction in this checking account, but his savings account was still in danger. There was a pending transaction of $3500, he was told.
Chuck was to transfer $3500 from his savings account to himself through Zelle, so that money couldn’t be stolen. Which he did, since the imposter had most of his personal and financial information, including from his Bank of America accounts.
“All the signs were there that this was legit,” Chuck says.
So you can only imagine how Chuck felt the next day when he called BOA himself to find out all of his money was gone.
“Mad, frustrated, feeling of a total loss, and just feeling stupid, but realizing how elaborate this scam is.”
It’s little solace for Chuck to know he’s not alone.
“It doesn’t matter how smart you are, the criminals can be smarter,” Chuck says.
"It’s almost a perfect scam,” according to consumer expert Bob Sullivan.
He tells us the spoofed phone number and the details scammers have somehow hacked are a one-two punch, which lands on scam victims all across the country.
“And what else are you going to do assume other than it's Bank of America calling you back?” Sullivan asks.
As for Chuck, he was told by Bank of America they couldn’t help since cash apps like Zelle are third-party apps, not operated by the bank.
It’s why Chuck wants to warn others.
“I know my own situation, but I also know there are people in much more dire straits than I am.”
Chuck says he searches every day for another job but says the field of design drafting has dried up, at least for now.
What to do next leaves him shaking his head, yet Chuck's determined to take one setback at a time, and meet it head-on, as the perfect scam piles on his life's perfect storm.
Digging deeper we found it's common that scammers pretend to be a variety of banks and businesses to trick victims.
In Chuck’s case, Bank of America says it can’t comment on an individual account.
Here's a statement from Bank of America:
"It’s unfortunate when people fall for scams like this and send money to scammers posing as a legitimate business.
Banks would not ask a customer to transfer funds between accounts in order to prevent fraud nor request sensitive account information. We alert clients during the transaction if they are sending money to a new recipient that they should only send to people they know and trust and never transfer money as a result of an unexpected call or text.
Additionally, they see: “BEWARE: Bank of America will never ask you to transfer money to anyone, including yourself. Don’t transfer money as a result of an unexpected text or call.” To move forward with the transaction, they need to click OK. We also have a number of measures in place to proactively warn clients about scams, and we periodically reach out to customers with information about how to stay safe and avoid scams.
In addition, we keep clients informed about new scam alerts through our Client Security Center on our website.
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