Local man’s bank account gets cleaned out; victim angry bank didn’t catch check fraud

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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."


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  • Cherie Sandretzky

    To think that I was getting irritated with Bank of America, because they are constantly sending me emails, texts, etc regarding my account, twice they have sent me new debit cards, because of security breaches. Guess I won’t be getting ticked off at them anymore!

  • Derek

    Only an idiot keeps that much in a checking account.
    I get paid at 10pm every two weeks i then use my debit card to pay my bills at 10.05. Then transfer the rest to savings. My money is in and out of my checking account in under ten minutes.
    I use my BMW credit card for everyday purchases.
    Every two weeks crooks have under five minutes to rob my account.

  • Lece

    Makes me glad that I have BECU! I have had BofA and Chase(wamu) before and after numerous BS charges like 4.00 every time I deposited my money w/a teller…I said FU I’m out…have NEVER had an issue w/BECU…the Target breach…BECU didn’t think twice and sent me a new card and watched my account…w/o me even knowing my account had been affected yet…so screw Wells Fargo, BofA and Chase…they are the real thieves!

  • The World is Ending

    You have 30 days but if the bank make any mistake in you favor they can go back to the day you opened your account and with some people that could 70 or 80 years. so say some one who is in their 90’s opened an account at chase 75 years ago and chase accidently put an extra $3 in the account (75 years ago $3 was close to half a days pay) the bank could go back and get it pluse 75 years interest. And there would be little you could do.

  • Brenda G

    Yes, the bank should hold some responsibility but really you need to take responsibility for your own funds in your bank account. Now days nobody wants to take accountability for your own selves. Banks and Credit Unions are there to help you manage your funds. It is not their responsibility to babysit you and your money. You are offered a monthly statement for a reason! Look at it, make sure the activity is yours, be a responsible person and look after your own self. Especially in this day and age where your bank information is no further then a click away on your computer and smartphones. Read the fine print on the contracts/paperwork you receive when you open an account. There is no reason you shouldn’t be able to catch fraud yourself promptly. Banks and Credit unions deal with hundreds of people a day. Is it the grocery store’s responsibility to prepare your food for you? No, it’s not. Grow up people and pay attention to what is going on in your finances. Elderly people don’t have as bad of a problem with this because they read their statements and balance their monthly statements like you are supposed to do. Most elderly people have fraud closer to home such as family members or caregivers. Grow up and own your responsibilities!

    • Matt Bell

      Hi Brenda, I put my money in a Chase account because I want my money protected. The role of a bank is to facilitate the transactions I authorize and not the ones I don’t. While I accept there is some accountability on both sides Chase says it is completely up to me, the consumer, to catch fraud and not them. I was unaware of this strict policy as was my personal banker and the branch manager at the local Chase bank. Both of them reassured me I would be paid back until their internal claims department found a reason to deny my claim and said no.

  • AlfredoKHuber

    >>>>my buddy’s mother-in-law makes $74 an hour on the internet . She has been fired for 7 months but last month her check was $18572 just working on the internet for a few hours. read this post here>>>>>> Read More

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