Bank Sues Identity Fraud Victim After $800,000 Removed From Its Account

from the how-nice-of-them dept

Recently, we pointed out that what's often called "identity theft" involving someone falsifying bank account info to take your money is really nothing of the sort, but is instead a bank robbery where the victim gets blamed. This comedy routine makes the point quite clearly:
"They took all the money? That sounds more like a bank robbery."
"No, no. If only. 'Cause we could take the hit. No, no. It was actually your identity that was stolen, primarily. It's a massive pisser for you."
"But, it's actually money that's been taken..."
"Yes"
"From you?"
"Kind of."
"I don't know what you want from me other than my commiserations."
"You see it was your identity. They said they were you!"
"And you believed them?"
"Yes, they stole your identity."
"Well, I don't know. I seem to still have my identity, whereas you seem to have lost several thousands of pounds. In light of that, I'm not sure why you think it was my identity that was stolen instead of your money."
To make this even more ridiculous, there's now a case where a company who had $800,000 removed from its bank account is being sued by that bank, PlainsCapital, in a proactive attempt by the bank to have a court declare that it is not, in fact, liable for the lost funds. The bank had been able to recover about $600,000 of the money, but the company pointed out that the bank should repay the rest -- and the bank responded by filing a lawsuit asking a court to establish that it was not at fault and had taken "commercially reasonable" steps to remain secure. This certainly does seem like one of these insult to injury situations.

Of course, it also seems like a massively poor way to market PlainsCapital. Not only will it not protect your money for you, if your money is taken by fraud from the bank, you may end up in court. That's not exactly a ringing endorsement of PlainsCapital.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2010 @ 7:27am

    "massively poor way to market PlainsCapital." ... "That's not exactly a ringing endorsement of PlainsCapital."

    Your redundant sentence is redundant. :)

     

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    AJ, Jan 28th, 2010 @ 7:33am

    Soooo

    Some one had their id stolen, the thief then took money from the bank, and it's the guy that got his id stolen's fault? WOW

     

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      Derek Kerton (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 12:30pm

      Re: Soooo

      The bank gave money to a con man, and it's the bank's fault? Wow?

      The bank, in the general case, takes a great deal of responsibility when they hold all that money. They need to have adequate security, and use it well. For example, they require everyone to sign slips all the time. Do they EVER compare the signed slip against your signature on record? Seems like they have the responsibility to do so, implied by the fact they have us sign every time. Otherwise, why even bother.

      But in this case, I actually agree with this bank's lawsuit. They want to clear their name. It seems they have a strong case that the customer divulged their login, perhaps through a Phish scam. The customer seems to be making the counter argument that the bank had inadequate security. I'm not sure I agree.

      There will always be a trade-off between bank security and customer convenience. Do I (all of us) want to have to undergo more bank security checks to e-bank just because some customers give away their login and passwords?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2010 @ 9:38pm

        Re: Re: Soooo

        For my bank account, I would avoid just trusting a mere login/password.
        For an amount in the $800k range, I would demand something more than that.

        But in this case, it appears that the bank did have an extra form of authentication. They only accepted transfer instructions from "registered" computers. I'm guessing that that means an IP address.

        Problem was that prior to the fraudulent transfers, the bank accepted a request to add an additional registered computer.

        It appears that the request was made by email-- which had forged headers...

         

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          Derek Kerton (profile), Jan 29th, 2010 @ 6:33pm

          Re: Re: Re: Soooo

          Right. Could be the banks fault. Seems unclear in this case. That's why I think it fair enough for the bank to sue, and let's find out if there was reasonable security, or if the company gave away secret info. The $200k+ lost is worthy of some inquiry.

           

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    yogi, Jan 28th, 2010 @ 7:50am

    I knew it

    My bank tried to get me to sign for their online banking plan - but when I read through the fine print it clearly stated that the bank will not be responsible in case its security system fails and the money in the account is stolen.

    The clerk denied this and kept saying that "everything will be fine" and "the system is great".Everyone once in a while they try to get me to sign on for this and each time I tell them that their contract absolves them of responsibility they deny it.

    I'm not ready to refute the evidence of my eyes so I am politely declining to this day.

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 8:08am

      Re: I knew it

      I would truly enjoy seeing language like "everything will be fine" actually written into their contract. This is why I only bank locally. Evil empires like Chase etc. don't look at you as a person; you're just a number...

       

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        Godric, Jan 28th, 2010 @ 8:34am

        Re: Re: I knew it

        @DH

        You are only partly correct. To the evil empires, you are only a $ to be exploited in every way possible. The culture in the banking industry has shifted from "Lets get your money in here to protect it" to a "Squeeze every dollar out of our customers and make them love us for it."

         

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          Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 8:43am

          Re: Re: Re: I knew it

          Nah, it was always that way with the major banking institutions, particularly those that deal internationally. Don't forget who owns/runs those places: Rockefellers, Morgans, Dowds, Rothschilds, etc.

          I'm fairly certain they never cared all that much for their customers...

           

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2010 @ 7:58am

    If they win their lawsuit, this could seriosuly undermine people's confidence in banks as there would always be the potential risk of this happening to anyone.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 8:11am

    BTW

    That frozen frame at the beginning of your YouTube video answers the unasked question:

    What would it look like if Mathew Broderik got a little fat and then stood next to the tough guy agent from Chuck and they both tried to look like someone was sticking a finger up their ass.

    Just thought you should know...

     

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    Danny, Jan 28th, 2010 @ 8:11am

    It's a matter of security....

    I would think that if records show that the identity thief was able to get away with the money because the bank didn't follow its security procedures then there is no question that bank is responsible. People put money in banks because they are told (by banks) that that is a safe and secure place to put your money. At this rate I might have to buy an extra bed so I can put my money in the mattress.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2010 @ 8:20am

    Are the Banks Double Dipping?

    Doesn't FDIC insure against robberies? http://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/information/fdiciorn.html Robberies and Other Thefts Stolen funds may be covered by what's called a banker's blanket bond, which is a multi-purpose insurance policy a bank purchases to protect itself from fire, flood, earthquake, robbery, defalcation, embezzlement and other causes of disappearing funds. In any event, an occurrence such as a fire or bank robbery may result in a loss to the bank but should not result in a loss to the bank's customers. If a third party somehow gains access to your account and transacts business that you would not approve of, you must contact the bank and your local law enforcement authorities, who have jurisdiction over this type of wrongdoing. FDIC-Insured •Checking Accounts (including money market deposit accounts) •Savings Accounts (including passbook accounts) •Certificates of Deposit Not FDIC-Insured •Investments in mutual funds (stock, bond or money market mutual funds), whether purchased from a bank, brokerage or dealer •Annuities (underwritten by insurance companies, but sold at some banks) •Stocks, bonds, Treasury securities or other investment products, whether purchased through a bank or a broker/dealer

     

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      Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 10:07am

      Re: Are the Banks Double Dipping?

      In most identity theft cases this may be a valid argument - but in this instance the amount is too large. FDIC insurance only covers up to $250,000 per account.

       

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        Luci, Jan 28th, 2010 @ 12:16pm

        Re: Re: Are the Banks Double Dipping?

        They recovered $600,000, so are only out $200,000. Which they are blaming the customer for.

         

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    NullOp, Jan 28th, 2010 @ 9:09am

    Another...

    Play it again, Sam...

    This is another attempt for someone to say it is not their responsibility. It didn't work for the Nazi's, it shouldn't work here either!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2010 @ 9:41am

    Letter to the Bank

    I will remember this story for the rest of my life, and should I forget the name of your exact institution or your name is changed, don't worry. I still won't bank with you in fear of changing from the only bank to not screw me over in many years.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2010 @ 10:48am

      Re: Letter to the Bank

      and this is safer why???? They will still get your money. It is a bank. So now they are not stealing your 'CREDIT' they are stealing your 'MONEY'. Debit cards do need money to work right???

       

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        nasch (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 11:23am

        Re: Re: Letter to the Bank

        Perhaps you are not aware of the difference between "stealing money" and "accepting deposits"?

         

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          Chargone (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 1:09pm

          Re: Re: Re: Letter to the Bank

          not sure, but i Think he's claiming that they're ripping you off with the fees and things.

          most banks make most of their money by lending out the money you give them for safe keeping. then they charge you for the privilege.

          of course, if you put enough in there, most stop charging you, and they do pay you interest on it (even if it is less than the fees)

          actually, several times that.

          that's why a 'run on the bank' situation is even Possible. they don't actually Have all the money they claim to.

          one could argue about whether that's really theft or not, but it's certainly sneaky. :)

           

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    TDR, Jan 28th, 2010 @ 9:59am

    Yet another reason why I like my prepaid debit card. No overdraft fees, way faster transaction processing than any bank, and my paycheck gets deposited on it a full day earlier than it would with a bank's direct deposit. No creative ordering of transactions, either. Just taken out as they go in, no fuss.

    www.netspend.com

     

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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 10:05am

    All the victim needs to do...

    All the victim needs to do is countersue and claim PlainsCapital has somehow infringed a patent and they win by default! From the article:

    'PlainsCapital promptly filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas'

    We all know if you file a patent suit in that particular court you automatically win.

     

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    porkster, Jan 28th, 2010 @ 2:08pm

    It's not stealing

    It's fraud, an intentional deception made for personal gain.

    I found my banks policies very poor when it came to internet/phone banking. I sent them a letter of complaint pointing out there deficiencies (and comparing them other banks). Three things happened:

    1. Several accounts were removed from my internet access (mortage, term deposits)
    2. The bank changed some policies (not as many as I would have liked)
    3. Sent me a letter stating that their security policies were adequate and that any losses would be covered by them (still got this letter)

     

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    Richard Corsale (profile), Jan 28th, 2010 @ 5:48pm

    whos at fault?

    Hold on just a second.. I cant find who's actually at fault here? I mean if this was a clear case of the victim handing his info over because he/she was conned, I find it really hard to justify the bank covering their stupidity.

    On the other-hand, if it were the fault of the bank in say, security of their server.. or their records were not properly disposed of.. well yeah the bank is liable.

    The victim said: "The biggest red flag should have been that the money was being transferred to foreign destinations, which had never happened before with Hillary's account".

    That said, having transfered large sums of money overseas, I can tell you first hand, it's handled very differently than domestic transfers. There is no call verification but there is the requirement that you know the pin number. If they had this, the question is how did they get it. If Hillary had declared their account not to wire overseas.. they would never have had an issue. I might be wrong, but my bank made me jump through all sorts of hoops to be able to transfer overseas after 911.

    I just never understood the concept of the banks insuring all of their account holders without any assessment of risk or profit from taking that risk. I mean.. look, I'm no fan of the man, but the days of the magic Internet are long gone.

     

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    Rooker, Jan 29th, 2010 @ 4:57pm

    "That's not exactly a ringing endorsement of PlainsCapital."

    Understatement of the year. Their competitors should make your last paragraph into a TV ad and never stop running it.

     

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    NetworkElf, Feb 1st, 2010 @ 7:12am

    Well, it's in the eastern district of TX. Maybe the CU should patent losing it's customers money by having crappy security. God knows, the courts there are stupid enough to buy that...

     

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    mini exercise bike, Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 9:18am

    Fine Ideas, but do you have more detailed info on the topic, another blog or links to other websites too.
    mini exercise bike

     

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    newest jordan shoes, Nov 8th, 2010 @ 10:57pm

    newest jordan shoes

    I dont know what to say. This blog is fantastic. Thats not really a really huge statement, but its all I could come up with after reading this. You know so much about this subject.

     

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    Carrie, Nov 9th, 2010 @ 5:20pm

    This is awful!

    It's such a shame that banks have been able to get away with ruining people's finances through such shady business practices. Hopefully with all of this recent economic reform, consumers will more likely to be spared. Sadly, many Americans saddled with pre-reform fees still find themselves deeply in debt. Companies like DebtGuru are thankfully there to help. By working with individuals and banks reduce or eliminate the debts accrued by such transactions, they have already allowed many Americans to get back on their feet. Their credit counselors are very helpful!

     

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