7 On Your Side helps a Brooklyn senior after ID thieves drain bank account

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Nina Pineda reports on a senior citizen who was a victim of identity theft.

87-year-old Rebecca Dobson hasn't left Brooklyn in 15 years, but her bank has a record of her taking money out of ATMs across the country and in a different country. Turns out, she was a victim of identity theft.

'I'm old but I'm not stupid!" she told 7 On Your Side.

No siree. We heard the spry senior give a scammer an earful.

"Youre a fraud, a fraud!" she screamed into her flip-phone.

In the middle of our interview, the thief, calling himself Steve Jobs, from the FBI no less, called and asked her for bank account info.

Mother Dobson, as she's known to members of her church, is a savvy senior. She says she never gives out her personal info to anyone, yet over a week, a scammer emptied her bank account of nearly $12,000 - leaving her about $8 to her name.

"Nobody never got in touch with me, Chase never called me," Mother Dobson said.

There were scores of ATM withdrawals, all in three far flung locations like Las Vegas, New Orleans and Bethania, Panama.

Mother Dobson's niece even went to the bank and produced her aunt's passport to prove she hadn't been out of the country, but Chase still denied the fraud claim.

"For the bank to just process multiple transaction a day, day after day after day, unbelievable," she said.

And the missing money was just the beginning, after the mysterious withdrawls, her phone stopped receieving calls. Her address was changed and she got three credit cards mailed to her in someone elses name with a fourth on the way, she stopped.

"Only Capital One called me and asked, 'Are you trying to get a card?' I told them, 'No, I didnt apply for a card,'" she said.

But Mother Dobson says she didn't get the same courtesy from Chase. Even though for decades, she's only withrdrawn from the teller, never the ATM, the bank wasn't refunding her money.

So we called Chase who took a second look, and the bank apologized.

"It's a good feeling!" said Mother Dobson, thrilled with the news she got all of her money reimbursed, all 12,000! "You did a good job!"

Chase said it reimbursed her the money she was owed, "As soon as it confirmed that the transactions were fraudulent."

"7 On Your Side, my side, our side, you're the best!" said Mrs. Dobson's niece.

"We always watch Channel 7, you have supporters and fans in us always," she said.

Chase said it was, "happy this issue is resolved and apologizes for the trouble it caused our customer."

The big takeaway: Step one is finding the fraud. That means you should regularly be scanning your account statement for fraudulent charges.

Then, report it to the bank as soon as possible. You have 60 days after the fraud to report it. After that the loss will usually fall on you. In most cases, you'll need to report this fraud to the police and get a copy of the police report. The banks will need this. Filing a report shows the bank that you didn't make these fraudulent withdrawals yourself, and you're just trying to scam the bank.

Chase offered the following tips as well.

Fraud protection:

Customers who believe they've been a victim of fraud are encouraged to contact us immediately so that we can review any unauthorized charges and credit their account. The sooner we know what happened, the sooner we can help.

Customers have 60 days from receiving their first statement to report fraud.

Customers who have lost or believe their card has been stolen should contact us immediately so we can close the card and issue them a new one.

Keep your information safe. Don't give out your checking account or credit card numbers unless you the know the person or organization you're dealing with.

Set up account alerts to monitor account activity, like large transactions or a low balance.

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Related Topics:
scam targeting seniorsscamidentity theft7 On Your SideNew York CityBrooklyn
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