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Veteran Falls Victim to Scam Loses Daughters College Education Fund

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 3 minute read

Despite the fact that he was the victim of a phishing scam, a California veteran lost thousands of dollars in an account intended to pay for his daughter’s college tuition and is still locked out of his Chase Bank account nearly a month after falling victim to it.

Basically, it’s a guardianship account for my daughter’s educational expenses. In the words of Navy veteran and Laguna Niguel resident Eric Cletcher, “everything was wiped out.” Cletcher contended that the more than $19,000 in damages was not his responsibility.

Beginning with a text message purporting to be from Chase Bank, the prank evolved into a phone call from a woman claiming to be from the bank’s customer service department.

In the end, it was discovered that the SMS message had been a phishing scam, which is a sort of cybercrime.

According to Cletcher, who is a Chase Bank member, “I even validated the phone number, and it went straight to Chase Bank.” “‘Good morning, Mr. Cletcher,’ replied Barbara, the agent on the other end of the phone line, who addressed me by name and welcomed me to the company. She knew who I was because she recognized my name. She knew the last four numbers of my social security number, which was surprising. She recognized the final four numbers of my debit card as well as the account number in question, which was the same as the one associated with my checking account.”

The Navy veteran alleges that he did not give out any personal information and that the fictitious bank employee was alerting him of fraudulent transactions and that his debit card would be cancelled. Cletcher claimed he had no reason to believe anything was incorrect at the time, but when he attempted to log into his account minutes later, he was denied access. After over a month, he is still unable to enter.

“To put it lightly, it’s been a nightmare,” says the author. As he put it, “I’m feeling like I’m in some sort of time warp.”

A legitimate Chase Bank employee answered the phone and informed Cletcher that there had been no fraud on his account, but that there had been wire transfers to someone in Florida. Every penny in his daughter’s college savings account had been emptied by this point.

Since then, he has made a number of phone calls to law enforcement and the Chase Bank.

“I was on vacation and filling up my car with gas for $80 when I received a phone call from Chase Bank asking if it was really me at the gas station.” In other words, where was Chase Bank’s security on a wire transfer worth nearly $20,000? “I did not give my consent to any of these charges,” Cletcher insisted.

Chase Bank confirmed that it is still looking into Cletcher’s situation, but it wants customers to be aware that “Chase will never contact a customer asking for account details in order to prevent or halt fraud on their account via check, wire transfer, or an electronic platform,” according to the bank.

Scammers may send texts or phone calls to clients asking personal information, and Chase officials caution that the bank will never contact you to request a personal identification number (PIN) or threaten to close or suspend an account without first obtaining permission from the customer.

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