An apparent banking fraud scheme leaves one Tulsa couple scratching their heads and with a frozen bank account.
The Bruce family said a mysterious amount of money showed up as if from thin air, and then disappeared, leaving them, the account holders, as the prime fraud suspects.
Larry and his wife Crystal were thrown for a loop after watching a couple thousand dollars appear in their bank account overnight.
"Somehow our mobile app on our USAA app was activated by someone on the outside,” Larry said. “They deposited $2,000 in a business account."
Confused, the couple immediately checked on their funds only to watch even more activity unfold.
"Then they transferred a thousand dollars from that account to our social security accounts,” added Larry.
From there, that $1,000 dollars transferred to a woman Larry said he's never heard of using the mobile banking app, Zelle.
"We don't even have Zelle on our phones,” Larry said.
Even more baffling, the fraudulent check appeared to be endorsed by Larry and his wife.
"That is not my signature, and it sure is not my wife's signature,” he said.
The couple acted, calling their bank, USAA, to make a fraud claim, only to be dealt a frozen bank account and an alleged accusation.
"They said they had proof that my wife did it on her mobile app on her phone through her member ID.”
The bank sent this statement:
"Our member's financial security and outstanding service are of the utmost importance to everyone at USAA. While we can't get into the detail of a member's account, we have worked with Mr. Bruce to bring the matter to resolution."
"After we notified you all, we got a call from one of the CEOs down there… that she was working with the investigations and she said they found an error,” Larry said.
The couple said a new investigation revealed they had nothing to do with the fraud, and their accounts were unfrozen, and funds replaced.
Officials with USAA told the Bruce's they believe the fraudster was able to hack Larry's email address and somehow gain access to their account, but that the paper trail didn't go very far.
To protect yourself from bank fraud, USAA gives this advice:
- Never provide your personal or banking information to unauthorized individuals. Fraudsters ask for things such as personal identifiers, debit or credit card information and account numbers.
- Be cautious when asked to make a deposit or send money back. Fraudsters sometimes convince you to make a deposit or payment to reduce your debt and provide an account number/routing number to use, but require a fee to be sent to the fraudster when the payment is made. The payment will return, the fee will be lost, and the account holder will be responsible.
- Contact your bank immediately if you provide your personal banking information to an unauthorized individual or see suspicious activity on your account.
- Consider changing online banking and email passwords on a regular basis. Some financial apps are tied to your email account and can be accessed with those passwords.
- Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
This article was written by Cori Duke for KJRH.