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Fri Jan 14, 2022, 03:35 PM

Chase let an elderly customer wire more than $600,000 to an overseas scammer

Lisa Spanierman contacted me recently to relate how her 81-year-old mother got fleeced to the tune of more than $600,000, and how Chase bank did precious little to prevent the theft of much of her life’s savings.


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Spanierman also said her mom’s memory has started to lapse, making it difficult at times for her to explain herself. A bank teller who pressed for details about the wire transfers probably would have seen that something was amiss, Spanierman told me.

“There should have been lots of red flags,” she said. “But the bank ignored them.”

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Regardless of how the con artist motivated Spanierman’s mom, bank records show that she visited a Chase branch on New York’s East Side and wired $45,000 to an address in Bangkok, Thailand. She wired another $45,000 from the same branch four days later.

Two days after that, she wired $300,000 from a different Chase branch. She then returned the same day to the first branch and tried to wire an additional $200,000. Although the transaction was approved, it didn’t go through for some reason.

A week later, Spanierman’s mom arrived at another Chase branch and attempted to once again wire $200,000. This time — finally — a teller was suspicious and refused to send the money.

So Spanierman’s mom returned to the first branch that same day and successfully wired $231,000 to Bangkok.

https://www.latimes.com/business/story/2022-01-14/column-chase-elder-financial-fraud

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Reply Chase let an elderly customer wire more than $600,000 to an overseas scammer (Original post)
Demovictory9 Jan 2022 OP
dchill Jan 2022 #1
DeeNice Jan 2022 #5
dchill Jan 2022 #17
leftieNanner Jan 2022 #2
Demovictory9 Jan 2022 #8
ProfessorGAC Jan 2022 #13
MineralMan Jan 2022 #3
Demovictory9 Jan 2022 #6
MineralMan Jan 2022 #12
ck4829 Jan 2022 #4
Hassin Bin Sober Jan 2022 #11
MagickMuffin Jan 2022 #7
Demovictory9 Jan 2022 #9
MagickMuffin Jan 2022 #15
Hassin Bin Sober Jan 2022 #14
Hekate Jan 2022 #10
Buckeyeblue Jan 2022 #16
Klaralven Jan 2022 #18
Demovictory9 Jan 2022 #19
RandiFan1290 Jan 2022 #20

Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 03:39 PM

1. Fiduciary.

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Response to dchill (Reply #1)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 03:42 PM

5. absoluteliary

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Response to DeeNice (Reply #5)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 05:20 PM

17. Veriary.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 03:41 PM

2. Chase might want to cut their losses

And write that woman a $600,000 check.

I took over my Dad's accounts when he couldn't manage them any more. We went into the Bank of America branch, waited for the manager to become available, and then he asked that I be put on all of his signature cards. In a few minutes, it was all taken care of. On our way out of the bank, Dad turned to me and asked "What did we come to the bank for?" Thank heavens he wasn't this confused when we sat at the manager's desk. I hope they would have refused to put me on the account.

If you have an elderly parent, especially if they are beginning to have some confusion, you might want to mildly intervene to add yourself to the account and possibly require your signature for any transactions above a certain amount.

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Response to leftieNanner (Reply #2)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 03:44 PM

8. its crazy that chase let this woman go from branch to branch wiring to Thailand

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Response to Demovictory9 (Reply #8)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 03:52 PM

13. I'd Think The Bank...

...would be red flagging the account, if only for concerns over money laundering or illegal activity.
Geez, if one deposits 10 grand or more to an account, the bank legally has to report it to the feds.
This is 60x that, with all those deposits multiples of that limit.
The feds know illegal money flows in more than one direction.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 03:41 PM

3. In the past year, I've done several wire transfers as distributions

from my late parents' estate. Each time, I've been asked to explain the reason for the transfer. Since there is a bank account specifically for the estate's assets, that's pretty easy to do, but I am asked each time. There have also been a couple of wire transfers associated with buying and selling real estate. Each time, I've had to verify account numbers more than once before the transfer was made.

Chase bank should have verified those transfers more carefully, since scammers are everywhere these days. Shame on them for not doing so!

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Response to MineralMan (Reply #3)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 03:43 PM

6. escrow deposit... verified and verified because people have wired their escrow deposit to scammers

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Response to Demovictory9 (Reply #6)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 03:50 PM

12. Yes, that, too.

And yes, verification is duplicated to make sure there are no errors in things like account numbers.

Any time there are transfers of substantial amounts, wire transfers are the best bet. Yes, there's a fee, but there's no paper check traveling in an envelope from one place to another. I draw a line at around $20,000. Below that, I'll send a check. Over that, it goes via wire transfer.

On the other hand, when I used to travel to wholesale gem and mineral shows to buy stock for my online business, there was only one method of payment that was accepted. Benjamins. I remember the year when the new $100 bills came out. International mineral wholesale dealers were very skeptical of them. Anyhow, that's why there was armed security everywhere at those gem and mineral shows. Lots of people carrying bundles of $100 bills around.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 03:41 PM

4. I've heard accounts of young adults in college and business owners falling victims to these scammers

Some of them are downright vicious and it's wrong to think they just take money from the gullible or dumb.

The little grocery store down the street from where I live will not do wire transfers if something about them seems off. Chase should have done better, and I think they bear some responsibility here.

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Response to ck4829 (Reply #4)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 03:49 PM

11. Yep. Plenty of businesses have been scammed by wire requests.

A friend of mine is a hedge fund CFO. She’s told me of some of the scams she’s seen. One almost got her - she received an email from the CEO that seemed legit. Luckily she called with a follow up. She’s had a few clients that have been burned. We are talking hundreds of thousands to millions.

My attorney has warnings on his emails and faxes about not wiring any funds without speaking to him. I suppose next they’ll be spoofing voices.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 03:44 PM

7. my wonderful neighbor got scammed out of over $80,000



The State of Texas ended up taking her home and placing her into a nursing home. If she would have confided in me none of this would've happen.



I hate scammers, but I hate that the banking system failed miserably in Spanierman’s mom case. I hope they can get the money back.


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Response to MagickMuffin (Reply #7)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 03:45 PM

9. thats horrible. I hate thieves...t

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Response to Demovictory9 (Reply #9)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:03 PM

15. Yep, she took out a reverse mortgage on her house.



Her church "friend" turned her into APS and the state took over her estate.

Her niece who runs a nursing home offered to take her in only if the niece could benefit from her Social services. Otherwise she would have had to stay where she was, which was an rundown nursing home. My grandfather stayed there back in the 70's and it hasn't changed much since then.



Did I mention I also hate scammers?


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Response to MagickMuffin (Reply #7)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 03:54 PM

14. My mother-in-law turned over her computer to some scammer.

I can’t remember if she gave her credit card or not. I think maybe she did. My partner happened to call her while this was going on so he dispatched his sister to sprint over to the house and unplug her computer and cancel her card.

Nothing lost. Except for the computer that she hasn’t turned back on again.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 03:48 PM

10. Worth reading it all--David Lazarus is an excellent consumer affairs columnist. nt

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 04:18 PM

16. Lots of people fall for these scams

The best advice to be better protected is to bank at small community banks or credit unions. They tend to know their customers better and speak up when the see unusual behavior or activity.

Banks are required to be on the lookout for elder abuse. An older woman suddenly sending wires to an off-shore account should raise a lot of red flags.

It's very sad.

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 07:24 PM

18. Too much money to have in a checking account where it is easily accessible

 

“He got control of my mom’s computer, probably by getting her to download some malware,” Spanierman said. “He saw that she had over $600,000 in her checking account.”

These were inheritance and life insurance funds related to the death of her husband, Spanierman’s stepfather, who died of a brain hemorrhage a year ago.


On the east side of Manhattan, transfers of these amounts to offshore accounts are probably routine.

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Response to Klaralven (Reply #18)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 07:27 PM

19. agreed. Now someone in Thailand is living large

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Response to Demovictory9 (Original post)

Fri Jan 14, 2022, 07:32 PM

20. Coinbase helped stop one of these scammers when the bank failed to.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/isabelcontreras/2022/01/06/crypto-crime-stopper-how-coinbase-foiled-the-theft-of-a-half-million-from-an-elderly-mans-bank-accounts/




Crypto Crime Stopper: How Coinbase Foiled The Theft Of A Half Million From An Elderly Man’s Bank Accounts

In late August, an elderly Asheville, North Carolina man received a terrifying call from someone claiming to be from the “Office of the Inspector General”. The caller warned the senior’s personal information had been used to facilitate a drug trafficking and money laundering scheme and all his assets would be frozen until the government could verify he wasn’t part of the scheme. Doing so would require him to first deposit all his money in a government account, claimed the scamster, who then passed the phone on to a fictitious Agent James Hoffman, badge number Y5739.

It’s the sort of bogus pitch that has become an all-too-familiar nuisance to anyone with a landline or even a cell phone. Yet sometimes, particularly when such calls target older folks who respect (or fear) the feds, it works.

In this case, the fraudsters persuaded the victim to buy a cell phone and a laptop and load the TeamViewer app onto that laptop so they could control it remotely. They got him to hold his driver’s license up to the laptop’s camera so they could capture pictures of both it and him and opened a Gmail account under their control in his name. Within a week, they had gotten the victim to cash in multiple CDs and transfer a total of $574,766 from four banks and a credit union to an account created in his name at cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, where it was used to buy a total of 12.16 bitcoin.

None of the elderly man’s banks blocked the suspicious transfers. But in November, after the bitcoin was moved into a different anonymous numbered Coinbase account, the crypto exchange flagged the transaction as potential elder fraud, froze the account and called in the feds, saving the senior a half million plus of his life savings. (These details all come from a previously unreported petition for forfeiture filed last month by the U.S. Attorney for the Western district of North Carolina. The forfeiture allows the bitcoin to be held in an FBI virtual currency wallet and ultimately returned to the unnamed victim. The bitcoin bought with the victim’s funds was acquired at an average cost of around $47,000, so depending on what happens to the price of crypto, he could end up with more or less than he was originally scammed out of.)

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