DENVER (KDVR) — New scam alert: Bank impersonators are ironically using the public’s fear of being scammed to trick victims into making wire transfers.
Sarah Milliken, 23, worked various jobs over five years to save up for life after college, carefully guarding her Chase Bank account.
In December, she received a call from someone saying they represented Chase Bank. The person warned that scammers were targeting Milliken’s account, so she needed to quickly wire the money to another account number provided by the caller.
Milliken was careful to verify the phone number of the caller, which appeared on the screen of her phone, and found it matched the customer service number on her Chase credit card. She also monitored her account for red flags.
“The person I talked to on the phone was very professional, seemed to know everything about the bank. I had no doubt that I was talking to a Chase employee. While the fraud was happening, I wasn’t receiving any fraud notifications,” she said.
‘All my money … gone within hours’
Eventually, a real bank employee at her branch confirmed that Milliken was the victim of a scam.
“All my money that I had saved up was just gone within hours,” she said — $18,000.
Milliken’s family told FOX31 they are devastated as well.
“What bank would eliminate an entire account, that she never had any wire transfers whatsoever (before), without reaching out and speaking to a client personally?” Milliken’s father said.
Chase Bank told the Problem Solvers that the fraud protection policy at most banks only applies to breaches caused by hackers or others who scam the bank itself, rather than reaching out to individual customers.
Chase told FOX31 that the staff is reaching out to two other banks that received the wire transfer of Milliken’s money to effort a return.
Protect yourself from bank fraud
A spokesperson stated that neither Chase nor any other bank will ask customers to send or wire money, even to their own accounts, to stop scammers. The bank provides security information to customers.
When in doubt, visit your branch and conduct business in person.
Milliken and her parents told FOX31 the bank should have a better procedure for immediately flagging suspicious activity and added that they only received one account alert, although several transfers were made.
It is a difficult reality for Milliken, who will start saving her money all over again.
She said the increase in scams is disturbing and something must be done to stop the wave of global crime.
“It’s unbelievable that they just don’t feel any sense of empathy for the people that this is affecting,” she said.