My Identity was Stolen and Bank of America Says It’s My Fault

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The saga of my ID Theft all started when I applied for unemployment from the state of California.

After hours of filing paperwork, staying on-hold with customer service, and figuring out how to get into the online system, I finally got my unemployment lined up. It would take up to three weeks to actually begin receiving benefits, and when they came, they would be on a debit card, sent to me in the mail from Bank of America.

When I called BofA to ask them to send the card, they told me it would take several weeks, but would arrive no later than April 23.

In the three weeks while I waited, luckily, I was offered a full-time job.

On the first day of my new job (April 25), I realized I had never gotten the card on the day it was expected to come. I waited until my lunch break, and called BofA to let them know the card had never come. I was told, that it must have come, because all of the three weeks benefits on the card had been spent. I told them those charges were unequivocally not mine, as I had never received the card.

That’s when the drama began.

I filed a fraud claim with BofA. I was told a document would come in the mail and it was time-sensitive, so to be sure to fill it out and send it back. The document never came. I called BofA to tell them their time-sensitive letter hadn’t come. Their response was that perhaps someone “in my family had taken the debit card and spent the money on it.” This is when I realized that BofA was treating me, not like the victim of fraud, but as a criminal, living on unemployment, who was attempting to game the system.

I was told to send in some kind of proof that I was not at the places on the day when the card was being used. I went through my credit card statements and faxed (that’s the only way they accept documentation) the statement that showed I was at my local Ralph’s using my American Express card to buy groceries at the same time the thief with my debit card was out on a spending spree at McDonalds, LA Metro, Home Depot and Target.

I waited a few days, and called BofA again to make sure they received my new statement, the one I was sure would clear me of any wrong-doing, had arrived to the fraud department. I was told, that my claim was denied. I was in shock. I was then told to file a police report, and when it was processed to call back with a police report ID number, and this would reopen my claim.

I went down to my local LAPD office to file the report. The officer told me not to be too upset, as ID Theft of BofA debit cards is “super-common.” In fact, he said, “the woman in here just a few minutes ago had this happen to her too.”

I filed my report, feeling more hopeful. I called BofA back with my police report ID number, but was told I would have to, you guessed it, fax the report. I faxed the report and again, waited a few days to call BofA again and make sure they received the report. I was then told, the police report ID number wasn’t good enough, I would need to fax the complete police report.

I called the LAPD to ask for the full report, and was told I would need to mail in a request for the report and it could take a week or two for them to send the report back. A week later I had the report in my hand, and again, I faxed it to BofA.

Once again, I called BofA to make sure they received the police report, and was told they had, but that in order for me to be cleared of stealing the card myself, the LAPD would have to “pull all the surveillance films from all the stores where the thieves shopped, and prove that it wasn’t me using the card,” otherwise the fraud department would consider the claim closed. And again, I was asked if I was sure someone in my family or household hadn’t stolen the card.

Now, since all of this has happened, I’ve had to open a LifeLock account, as my identity really was stolen, and the thieves who took the BofA debit card have attempted to use my address and email to open other credit cards– one inquiry has lowered my credit rating.

Yesterday, I received a letter from BofA saying that no posting error had occurred on the account, that the claim in the amount of $802.89 would not be credited to the account, and that the “dispute [was now] closed.”

The bottom line… After having been a customer with BofA since high school, and currently maintain a significant amount in my checking account, I have opened an account with Chase and next week ALL of my assets from BofA will be at Chase. If this is how BofA treats people on unemployment, like criminals, then they don’t deserve to have me as a customer.




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