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Northeast Ohio checking account fraud ramped-up due to phishing scams

Posted at 10:18 PM, Dec 03, 2018
and last updated 2018-12-03 23:08:13-05

Northeast Ohio consumers could find their checking account under a fraud attack, and in some of those cases a phishing scam is to blame.

Juliann Workman, who works in Chagrin Falls, told News 5 one of her checking accounts was being victimized by con artists in North Carolina for several weeks.

Workman said she opened a Huntington Bank checking account so she could send money to her daughter in Wyoming, but suddenly discovered fraudulent withdraws and bogus checks were being deposited into the account.

Workman believes the account was compromised after her daughter mistakenly gave out information on the account through an email.  

She said she tried to get Huntington Bank to close the account for eight weeks, but was repeatedly told she wasn't a co-signer on the account, even though she had the paperwork and power of attorney to prove otherwise.

Workman said the bank would not cover nearly $500 in fraudulent withdraws.

"This was horrible. It was almost two months of phone calls and e-mails," Workman said.

"When I contacted Huntington, people were beating around the bush, nobody wanted to give answers, everybody blaming another department."

"I said some very not so nice things, but that did it for me because for two months I've been fighting this and now you're telling me there is no dispute."

News 5 contacted Huntington Bank headquarters, and the company responded immediately.

Huntington quickly apologized for the confusion and credited Workman's account for the lost funds.

Huntington Bank issued the following statement:

"Huntington proactively looks out for customers with our fraud alert system.  

We have robust controls that monitor customer account activity.  

We provide “Confirm It” fraud alerts that automatically notify customers of suspicious activity on their credit and/or debit card accounts via text, email and/or automated phone call.  

Here is more information about our fraud alert system.

Customers can contact us 24 hours a day to report anything suspicious on their accounts.  Customer account privacy and safety is our top priority.  

Our zero liability policy protects our customers from unauthorized use of their debit and credit cards.

Customers can monitor their accounts online, through the mobile app, through their statements, through our bank phone and even by stopping into a branch."

Cleveland Better Business Bureau President Sue McConnell told News 5 its critical consumers keep a close watch on their checking accounts and beware of people posing as banking officials over the phone or online.

"It is absolutely imperative that you check your account balances on a regular basis," McConnell said.

"Were they the victim of a phishing scam, did somebody pose as the bank, claiming they needed information and provided your account number, saying we had a problem with our computer."

Meanwhile, Workman urged consumers to keep a written log and retain all paperwork when trying to fight against a scam.

"I think that it was huge that I saved all this paperwork because had I not saved all of that stuff, I don't think we would have had a very good outcome," Workman said.