Victims Of EDD Debit Card Scam Fighting Bank Of America To Get Money Back – CBS San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX) – Fighting to get unemployment compensation has been laborious sufficient for therefore many for the reason that pandemic. So, think about how it feels when you lastly have money coming in, to see all of it stolen away.

KPIX was the primary to reveal what seems to be a large fraud drawback involving using unemployment debit playing cards issued by Bank of America. Since then, we’ve got acquired greater than 60 emails from individuals who say their EDD debit card was hacked they usually misplaced 1000’s of {dollars}.

“I form of shouted out, oh my god, nearly all of my unemployment has been hacked!”

Brooke Suchomel described her response just a few weeks in the past when she went online to examine her Bank of America EDD card stability. Two prices, one for $1500 at Neiman Marcus and one other for $1200 on the online luxurious vendor Intermix had worn out her account.

“It had been drained in a single day, the day earlier than lease was due,” stated Suchomel.

She says she was on maintain for hours, two days straight, earlier than she was lastly capable of file a declare. She’s nonetheless preventing to get all her money again.

“Bank of America isn’t taking this critically,” stated Suchomel. “It completely appears like we’re being handled like second-class residents.”

ALSO READ: Outrage Mounts After Bank Of America Denies Claims From Victims Of EDD Bank Card Scammers

Suchomel reached out to KPIX after seeing our earlier experiences about others caught in the exact same predicament. Since then, we’ve acquired much more emails, everybody desperately crying out for assist. So, we invited them to a gaggle interview.

First we requested how a lot money they’ve misplaced. Luis Harbottle instructed us he misplaced $1000. Tina Lee misplaced $2000, in two transactions of $1000 every. Paula Xiao instructed us her mom misplaced $4806 and Paul Camera instructed us he misplaced $5,998.

Everyone within the group misplaced their jobs due to the pandemic and is dependent upon their unemployment advantages to outlive.

“I’m a widow I’ve three youngsters. Rent is developing quickly, I work within the meals business, so I acquired hit laborious,” stated Lieza Sy.

“It’s unfair as a result of I’m a single mom. I’ve a son,” stated Erica Young.

But they are saying making an attempt to get Bank of America to assist is nearly unimaginable.

“On the telephone on maintain two to a few hours, click on, name once more,” stated Maria Ramirez.

“Can I put you on maintain? Click!” stated Kris Quinn.

“I really went into the financial institution myself twice to attempt to get assist in individual they usually had been like oh don’t speak to us! Call the quantity on the wall,” stated Tina Lee.

And they are saying when you do get by, Louis Harbottle says, “Basically what they do is attempt to make you are feeling responsible saying no this can be a legitimate withdrawal.”

The victims imagine all the transactions had apparent crimson flags.

“We can see it occurred at two ATMs, miles away from me in the midst of the evening,” stated Kris Quinn.

“How did I make two transactions in San Diego and Arizona inside minutes of one another?” requested Heath Medeiros.

Despite offering proof, victims say Bank of America did nothing for them.

“I despatched them my police report and the FTC report, receipts I used the identical day they had been withdrawing in a distinct metropolis,” stated Maria Ramirez.

“And they’ve cameras on these ATM machines,” stated Lieza Sy.

bank of america edd scam claim closed

(CBS)

Instead, days after submitting claims, they are saying they acquired letters that say, “The above listed declare has been closed.”

“The letter was dated the 20th, I didn’t make the preliminary declare till the 19th, so nothing was investigated. The letter was generated as quickly as I hung up the telephone,” stated Erica Young.

Bank of America’s letter goes on to say “you might request that we re-open your declare.”

But victims say that too appears to go nowhere.

“I really known as this morning at 7 a.m. They gave me a brand new declare quantity. But what use is that if we are able to’t even examine the standing of that declare?” stated Paula Xiao.

“I do know I’m not exempt from fraud, I do know it’s simply the time we live in individuals are going to get extra determined. But when you might have an establishment as giant as Bank of America they usually’re refusing to do something about it and the state is conscious of it too, I simply don’t suppose that’s truthful,” stated Erica Young.

Bank of America as soon as once more turned down our request for an interview. The financial institution gained’t inform us how many purchasers are affected, how a lot has been stolen or when if ever victims will get their money again.

“They can’t simply deny claims that they know are most likely fraudulent,” stated Lauren Saunders with the National Consumer Law Center.

Saunders says the true drawback is forcing folks to make use of the debit card that, as we’ve got reported, doesn’t have a safety chip.

She says the California Employment Development Department could also be doing a run round federal regulation by providing solely paper checks as an alternate, however not permitting direct deposit, one thing most different states provide.

“What California does is de facto pressure folks into these playing cards, the place beneath the regulation, you might have the fitting to decide on how you obtain your unemployment advantages,” stated Saunders.

The Employment Development Department’s unique contract with Bank of America might have one thing to do with it. It’s a revenue-sharing settlement, through which EDD provides the financial institution the taxpayer funds to distribute and the financial institution in return pays EDD for the privilege of dealing with the money. So it’s worthwhile for each Bank of America and EDD.

“I believe that’s a part of the explanation California is pushing folks into utilizing the playing cards somewhat than utilizing direct deposit,” stated Saunders.

“I don’t even perceive why Bank of America has this lengthy standing contract with EDD. It doesn’t make sense to me. It’s a horrible scenario,” stated Tina Lee.

“I simply needed to say that to all of you don’t surrender, there may be safety beneath that Visa emblem that Bank of America places on that pay as you go card. I’ll get my money again. I’m not going to cease. I’m not gonna let it go,” stated Erica Young.

EDD instructed us if the fraud is occurring on the cardboard, then it’s as much as Bank of America to resolve it and pay victims again. But once we requested Bank of America about that, the reply got here again, “No remark.”

KPIX has been giving the names of victims which have contacted us to Bank of America. So far, 13 acquired their money again. If your EDD debit card has been hacked ship us an e mail and we are going to submit your title as effectively.

Statement from Bank of America (William Halldin):

Unfortunately, there was billions of {dollars} of fraud throughout this pandemic in state unemployment packages, together with California. We are working with the state and regulation enforcement to establish and take motion towards fraudulent candidates, defend taxpayer money and be certain that professional candidates can entry their advantages.

We have elevated our name heart staffing for our pre-paid playing cards practically 20-fold for the reason that pandemic started and proceed so as to add employees to serve folks calling in. We encourage anybody with a declare to contact us and supply supporting paperwork, if potential, so we are able to evaluate their scenario as rapidly as potential.

Statement from EDD (Loree Levy):

Funds from probably fraudulent accounts presently stay with B of A. Under the phrases of the contract, funds on inactivated playing cards stick with B of A for greater than a yr earlier than the cardboard is closed and funds are returned to EDD in May of the next yr.

There are some restricted direct deposit choices accessible beneath the present contract, and the contract did ponder EDD transitioning to direct deposit through the time period of the contract. If you might have a debit card, although, you may prepare to your advantages to be deposited straight into your checking account robotically. For occasion, claimants can arrange their account up in order that, as soon as EDD transfers funds to their card, somewhat than load the cardboard, Bank of America deposits it into the claimants checking account. However, this service will not be accessible with out having a card.

Here’s a hyperlink to the B of A FAQ’s which solutions how folks can provoke this feature: https://prepaid.bankofamerica.com/EddCard/Program/FAQ#q8

The contract is about to run out in July 2021 and the EDD will likely be reviewing all choices accessible once we solicit new proposals.

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