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#1997068 - 02/19/15 09:23 PM Wire Scam - What Else Can We Do?
charlied Offline
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Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 94
TN
Good Afternoon All,

We have a recently widowed customer who has come in three times in the past week, withdrawn money from a loan or IRA, and then wired it to someone in Egypt. So far, the total is just over $30,000. You can probably already guess her story with decent accuracy. She met someone locally and is in love. Now, he's in Egypt on business and needs her financial help...even though he's a millionaire. Anyway, once we got the whole story we decided to refuse future wires (because she still believes this is totally legit despite our best efforts). Besides filing on the activity, what other avenues could we pursue? We're pretty worried about this person. Any help is appreciated.

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#1997077 - 02/19/15 09:30 PM Re: Wire Scam - What Else Can We Do? charlied
Elwood P. Dowd Offline
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Her age?
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#1997080 - 02/19/15 09:33 PM Re: Wire Scam - What Else Can We Do? charlied
charlied Offline
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She is 53.

Additionally, she is the only owner/signer on any of the accounts involved, so we don't have much standing to inform any family members about the activity.
Last edited by charlied; 02/19/15 09:35 PM.
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#1997083 - 02/19/15 09:34 PM Re: Wire Scam - What Else Can We Do? charlied
BrianC Online
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http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/press/bcreg/20130924a.htm

Assuming that the customer is a senior citizen, refer to the above guidance that assures you that you are not violating privacy laws by contacting adult protective services, law enforcement, senior services, etc.
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#1997084 - 02/19/15 09:34 PM Re: Wire Scam - What Else Can We Do? charlied
BrianC Online
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So I was a bit late to the party...
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#1997091 - 02/19/15 09:45 PM Re: Wire Scam - What Else Can We Do? charlied
Elwood P. Dowd Offline
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A young woman from my perspective... wink

The law does not contemplate your bank standing in the place of a parent, not unless the customer is old enough to be your parent. What extraordinary steps you take here, you take at your own risk. The safest tack is to keep things between the two of you; i.e. refuse to facilitate transactions you believe to be suspect. Obviously, she can 1) get angry and close her accounts or 2) withdraw the cash and go to Wal Mart to send the wire.

Keep in mind, her worst fear is not losing her money. Her worst fear is that you are right.
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#1997270 - 02/20/15 04:27 PM Re: Wire Scam - What Else Can We Do? charlied
charlied Offline
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TN
That's what I was afraid you'd say. She's already been back in today to try to wire more. She wasn't happy about us refusing, but she hasn't threatened to close her accounts...yet. She simply refuses to believe that it could be a scam. Thanks very much to both of you for your help.

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#1997322 - 02/20/15 05:48 PM Re: Wire Scam - What Else Can We Do? charlied
Anna S. Offline
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What is even worse, the bank could be tied up in court and possibly held liable for her losses. I've read about some cases where the decision was for the customer because the bank knew it was fraud and the customer continued to remove the funds and send them to the bad actors. There's also a more recent case where the ruling was in the bank's favor. The last time we had a customer who refused to quit removing the funds and sending it out, the bank chose to sever the relationship.

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#1997556 - 02/23/15 04:36 PM Re: Wire Scam - What Else Can We Do? charlied
John Burnett Offline
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Welcome to Bankers' Threads, Anna S. And thanks for your contribution. Good advice.
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#1997570 - 02/23/15 04:55 PM Re: Wire Scam - What Else Can We Do? charlied
charlied Offline
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TN
Well, now we think it's possible that she may attempt to purchase an official check to send to this individual. Do we have any standing to refuse to issue the check?

Our fear in simply closing her accounts is that she will just take the money to a bank that doesn't know the situation and the process will begin all over again.
Last edited by charlied; 02/23/15 04:57 PM.
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#1997576 - 02/23/15 05:08 PM Re: Wire Scam - What Else Can We Do? charlied
Elwood P. Dowd Offline
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No one can force you to sell her a cashiers check.

God, give us the serenity to accept what cannot be changed, the courage to change what can be changed, and the wisdom to know the one from the other

Your bank cannot fix this.
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#1997582 - 02/23/15 05:34 PM Re: Wire Scam - What Else Can We Do? charlied
ACBbank Offline
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Originally Posted By: charlied
Well, now we think it's possible that she may attempt to purchase an official check to send to this individual. Do we have any standing to refuse to issue the check?

Our fear in simply closing her accounts is that she will just take the money to a bank that doesn't know the situation and the process will begin all over again.


Your efforts to protect your customer should be commended Charlied.

While I'm not an attorney, I'm fairly certain you can deny this customer a Cashier's Check. As a matter of fact, my former and current shop closes a customers account who refuses to realize their being ripped off. It's simply not worth the time and effort to tolerate this type of account activity.
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#1997610 - 02/23/15 06:45 PM Re: Wire Scam - What Else Can We Do? charlied
John Burnett Offline
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If the customer demands that her account be closed and that you do so with a cashier's check (lest she have to schlepp the cash around), make sure it's payable to her. If she tries to convince you to break it up and make part of it payable to a third party, politely refused. Tell her she can deposit it at her new bank.

It's hard, and it's cold, but you can only go so far trying to save the gullible from themselves.
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#1997616 - 02/23/15 06:58 PM Re: Wire Scam - What Else Can We Do? charlied
charlied Offline
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Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 94
TN
Thanks, everyone. I really appreciate all of the information. I hope it buys enough time for her to realize what's actually happening.

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#1997653 - 02/23/15 08:19 PM Re: Wire Scam - What Else Can We Do? charlied
thomasj Offline
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Having had experience with this many times, it is unlikely that any amount of time will help her realize that she's being scammed. The heartless person on the other end of this is undoubtedly very skilled at manipulating people who are vulnerable and trusting.

With one victim I provided undeniable evidence that the person she was involved with had purchased the priority mail postage he used to send items to her with a stolen credit card and that the return address was the victim of the credit card fraud. It made no difference. To this day she is still trying to send this guy money.
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#1998197 - 02/25/15 07:44 PM Re: Wire Scam - What Else Can We Do? charlied
BetsyS Offline
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I've worked with several victims of these scams. Like thomasj, I try to provide them with proof. I usually do a Google search on the name of the company, individual, even phone numbers and include the word "scam" or "fraud" in the search. It's amazing what comes up. I've actually downloaded samples of the same emails and correspondance, including profiles and love letters used in romance scams.

If all else fails, the Dept. Of Justice in our state has a Financial Fraud/Consumer Protection Section with a hotline. I'll assist them in making the call.

Last edited by BetsyS; 02/25/15 07:46 PM.
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#1998298 - 02/26/15 01:34 AM Re: Wire Scam - What Else Can We Do? BetsyS
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Some people can never accept the fact that they have been scammed. I have heard it many times, including twice today. Unfortunately, there is only so much you can do to protect people from themselves.
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#1998733 - 02/27/15 03:49 PM Re: Wire Scam - What Else Can We Do? charlied
AMLMGR Offline
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Joined: Jan 2010
Posts: 35
Along the lines with Anna S, we too will exit the relationship if the customer continues to attempt to send funds if we suspect it's a scammed and have already tried to educate them. We do this to limit the banks' liability for allowing it to continue.

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#1998868 - 02/27/15 06:56 PM Re: Wire Scam - What Else Can We Do? charlied
BSAguy Offline
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Kansas
We had this happen not too long ago. An elderly couple wanted to wire money to a foreign country to help out their grandson. We thought it was suspicious and refused. Come to find out, what they didn't tell us was that the thought their grandson was kidnapped and about to be killed. A scammer impersonating their grandson told this couple that he had been kidnapped and unless they wired money to this bank in a foreign country he would be murdered. They threatened to close their account and take it to a competitor if we didn't wire the money. In the end, they were extremely embarrassed that they fell for the scam. They were also very thankful that we didn't send the wire.

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#2001651 - 03/13/15 07:46 PM Re: Wire Scam - What Else Can We Do? charlied
charlied Offline
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Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 94
TN
Hey Everyone,

I have a follow up question. When reporting the amount involved in the suspicious activity, do I count just the actual money wired or do I also include the amount she attempted to wire? This feels like a dumb question for me to ask.

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#2001655 - 03/13/15 07:56 PM Re: Wire Scam - What Else Can We Do? charlied
edAudit Offline
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You are here
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#2001662 - 03/13/15 08:16 PM Re: Wire Scam - What Else Can We Do? charlied
charlied Offline
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Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 94
TN
Thanks very much!

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