Local man’s bank account gets cleaned out; victim angry bank didn’t catch check fraud
SEATTLE — There have been plenty of cyber attacks over the last few years to show how thieves are getting creative in getting your money.
But old-fashioned check fraud is still going on.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Matt Bell. “I actually couldn’t believe that many checks were written in such a short amount of time, and no one discovered it until my bank account was empty.”
The thieves either snatched checks from Bell’s mailbox, or stole his account number and created checks, making them out to cash and draining his Chase bank account.
“It’s nearly $12,000 worth of money, and it’s tough to recover from that.”
When Bell went to Chase, he said he was shocked at their response.
"I feel like because of a technicality, they're doing away with all responsibility and trying to help me as the consumer to protect my self. They did nothing to check for any fraudulent activity on the account."
Bell said the bank told him that because he did not notify them within 30 days of the first bad check, they refuse to cover any of his losses.
Bell admits Chase's policy of 30 days is stated in its checking account handbook.
A company spokesperson told Q13 FOX News, "We encourage customers to monitor their accounts through online and paper statements and to alert us of any unauthorized account activity promptly."
"It’s really easy for fraud to occur and people not to notice it," said Mike Boone, who specializes in consumer finances.
Boone advises people to consolidate checks to one book, and to keep them in a safe, secure spot. He also suggests signing up for electronic notices at the bank that will flag any withdrawals of more than, say, $100.
If possible, Boone urges people to keep a low balance in their checking account, so if someone does access it, they won't get thousands of dollars.
"If you let your balance build up and you don’t track your expenditures really closely, at least move it to a savings account or to an investment account where you don’t have that kind of access."