CHARLOTTE — Another person is suing Bank of America in federal court in Charlotte, claiming it did not do enough to protect customers against Zelle scams.
The plaintiff says someone pretending to be with the bank called her and claimed someone was trying to steal money out of her account, and that they could help.
The plaintiff says the caller walked her through a series of steps and tricked her into transferring the scammer money.
The plaintiff says she notified the bank quickly, but that the bank did not replace the money.
The plaintiff claims Zelle has “huge, undisclosed security risks” and that “virtually any money transferred for any reason via Zelle is gone forever, without recourse, reimbursement or protection.”
The lawsuit is against Bank of America, not Zelle. Bank of America says it will not comment on pending litigation.
Since this a class-action lawsuit, the plaintiffs would officially ask the judge at some point to make it a class action. If the judge says yes, it could open the case to people all over the country, including here in the Carolinas.
Another recent lawsuit
A few weeks ago, Channel 9 told you about another class-action lawsuit against Bank of America that also involved Zelle and was filed in Charlotte as well.
It claims the app is “neither safe nor secure.”
“Right now, it’s a haven for fraudsters and they are really taking advantage of Bank of America’s customers along with other banks,” a lawyer for the plaintiffs, Andrew Brown, told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke.
Brown says of the seven banks that own Zelle, Bank of America tends to turn a blind eye more than some of the others when it comes to scams involving Zelle. “Some do a much better job than Bank of America does,” he said.
According to the lawsuit, one of the plaintiffs is a South Carolina woman is older than 70. A caller “identifying themselves as a Bank of America employee” tricked her out of $2,000.
The bank would not comment on a case while it’s still going on.
More than 50 alleged victims reach out to Action 9
More than 50 alleged victims have reached out to Stoogenke since the middle of last year. Some are calling it the Zelle “me to me” scam because you think your transferring money to yourself to protect it.
The law says banks have to reimburse unauthorized transactions. But some banks argue these transactions were authorized because the victims said yes to the transfers.
Priscille Elusme told Stoogenke her bank, Bank of America, wouldn’t reimburse her. “I’m just trying to hold it together, keep it together, you know, singing, and then trying to raise up my good thoughts. … Wow, I can’t believe I just got scammed like that,” she said. “I just couldn’t believe my mind. This is a big eye-opener for me.”
Bank of America would not discuss her case for privacy reasons, but it says it will “never ask you to transfer money to anyone, including yourself. Don’t transfer money as a result of an unexpected text or call.”
People who work in the banking industry told Stoogenke this is how the scams works:
- Scammers get your account information (maybe from a data breach or you clicked on a link you shouldn’t have). But they still need a two-factor authentication code to access your account.
- That’s when the acting starts. They pose as your bank, then text you, saying your account may have been compromised, and follow up with a phone call.
- Then they or you, it’s not clear who, try to log in to your account, which triggers the two-factor authentication.
- You get the code and they ask you for it as part of the remedy.
- If you give it to them, they now have everything they need to get into your account and help themselves to your money.
Advice from Action 9:
- Don’t fall for the text.
- Don’t fall for the phone call.
- Scammers can spoof your bank’s number, so don’t trust your Caller ID.
- Do not give them that 6-digit authentication code.
VIDEO: Why scammers choose this specific amount for Zelle con
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