BREVARD COUNTY, Florida. – An 81-year-old retired Florida couple’s seven-month fight to prove their Wells Fargo savings account was ‘robbed’ for nearly $60,000 has ended with the money being refunded. funds.
“As far as they are concerned, either my husband or I authorized these transactions, which we did not,” Helen Stevenson told News 6.
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The Brevard County couple’s bank records show the account was accessed at least 11 times in early March, transferring money to three online bank accounts, including Zelle, Apple Pay and BankCorp.
“I found trades for $15,000, $8,000‚,” Stevenson said. “It’s not something I would do.”
The only clue was a call from someone claiming to be with Wells Fargo bank.
The caller simply asked if the Stevensons had an online account to which they replied that they did not.
A few days later, the mysterious cash transfers began. In fact, the first March 9 transfer was reported and the $2,700 transfer was refunded by Wells Fargo.
The subsequent transfers were investigated, but the bank’s fraud department concluded that the Stevensons approved the transfers.
News 6 presented the files to the Orlando headquarters of the US Secret Service and agents were convinced the Stevensons had no knowledge of the online accounts or transfers involved.
Special Agent in Charge Caroline O’Brien-Buster told News 6 that the Secret Service is considering “a few different theories” that fall under the takeover of bank accounts.
According to O’Brien-Buster, in many cases, imposters call banking call centers using personal information purchased online or on the dark web.
“It may take two or three times to call the call center, but eventually someone will provide them with access,” O’Brien-Buster said.
Senior Special Agent Roger Fuentes said seniors lost more than $1.7 billion to various internet crimes last year, including identity theft and data breaches.
“Whoever stole his information probably saw that he had an inactive account or an account that was not used regularly,” Fuentes said.
News 6 contacted Wells Fargo and investigators reopened the cash transfer investigation and concluded the funds should be returned to the couple.
In a statement to News 6, Wells Fargo wrote, “After conducting a thorough investigation, we are pleased that this issue has been resolved for our client. We never want to see anyone become a victim. As we fight fraud, we understand the frustration and anger of those who fall victim to it. We strive to continually improve our practices to better assist and support victims of fraud.
The Wells Fargo Online Safety Center has information about common fraud schemes and how consumers can protect themselves.
The Secret Service will continue to examine the files in this case.
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