Bank of America Complaint - Bank of America Closes Fraud Victim Accounts with a $50 Fee
Five years ago, I was the victim of bank account fraud. I worked with Bank of America to resolve the situation and correct my accounts. Now, five years later they decided to close my accounts based only on this fraud incident and charge me a $50 fee to do so.
In 2005, my Bank of America checking account was breached. I live in Seattle, WA and discovered a withdrawal from my account in Alabama. I immediately contacted Bank of America that told me my mailing address was changed in their system to an Alabama address. Apparently, someone was able to contact Bank of America, convince them that they were me, change the address on the account and issue a new debit card to the new address. We worked with Bank of America to close the account and issue a new checking account. The bank credited the account for the lost money and everything seemed resolved.
I have always been a very good Bank of America Customer. I conduct most banking electronically and do not run overdrafts. I own a premium Bank of America credit card and owned a savings CD. Earlier this year, in 2010 I opened a new business account and credit card. Everything was going well with the account until we received a letter regarding our new business accounts.
The letter we received said that Bank of America “has elected to close your account in accordance with the provisions of our Deposit Agreement and disclosures provided”. It then stated that Bank of America “may report the account to Chex Systems, Inc., an account verification service. This may adversely impact your ability to open an account at another financial institution for up to five years.” While the letter included a phone number for the Risk Identification Center, it provided no explanation for the account closure.
The only accounts affected were the new business checking and savings accounts. Instead of calling the number, I decided to go to my bank branch and speak with the manager that set up my recent accounts. She mentioned that everything appeared fine with all of our accounts and did not have any information why the new business accounts would have been closed. The manager called the Bank of America Risk Identification Center and the gentleman stated that the reason the accounts were closed was due to a 2005 incident involving “electronic transfers”. He did not know any details and said that “any time an account is closed by the Risk Identification department, the customer can no longer conduct business with Bank of America.”
After I explained the 2005 event to the Risk representative he told the bank branch manager that she could try escalating the matter. Two days later I received a voice message from the manager apologizing for the policy, but that the bank could not reinstate my account. After getting the message, I paid a visit to the manager again.
She told me that the Risk Identification department has only been around for a couple years and was not even in existence when this episode happened. She asked if I had any paperwork about this incident from 2005 and I told her that Bank of America should have everything already. She stated that management would look at and consider any information I could provide about the 2005 incident. Apparently, the bank has very little information from five years ago and is asking that I provide it. Bank of America handled the matter in 2005 and did not provide me with any follow up correspondence as to the details after I reported it. She then stated that there was no risk to any of my personal accounts, the accounts I re-established in 2005.
I decided to call the Risk Identification department again to double-check if there were any other reasons for closing an account in good standing. The woman on the phone confirmed that the only reason for closing the account was the event in 2005. She reiterated that it is their policy to close all customer accounts no matter the reason, if the Risk department initiated the close. I told her that in 2005 I contacted Bank of America and worked with them to close the account and reopen a new one. She could not confirm anything in regards to the matter except the bank policy. She didn’t seem to have any information about the event.
Also interesting is that the representative had no idea about the other accounts I had at Bank of America (not even the personal account I re-established in 2005). When I mentioned it, she looked up my account numbers and said that these may be in the process of closure as well.
Bank of America is passing the blame to their customers. When criminals breach Bank of America security protocols and they decide to close an affected customer account, they will not allow you to conduct business again with Bank of America and will post a notice on the Chex system for all banks to see. The details of the events leading to closure do not matter and they may not even have any past records of the event. They essentially pass the buck to the fraud victim and even charge $50 to seal the deal.
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