SEATTLE - When Richard Wood received a call about suspicious activity in his KeyBank account, he had concerns. But after contacting his bank he told FOX 13 News he was assured the situation was under control.
He couldn’t have imagined that weeks later he’d be looking at a nearly empty account.
"They were the ones who were supposed to be our protectors when it came to our account," said Wood. "In my view of them, right now, they’re the villains."
According to experts, his situation isn’t as unique as you may think.
"It’s tough, because the scammers will come at you from all angles," said FBI Supervisory Special Agent Tammy Mizer.
Mizer told FOX 13 News that you should always report concerns of fraud to your bank. Local police are a great resource too, but when it comes to scams involving any type of digital banking you need to turn to federal agents as soon as possible: which is easy through the Internet Crime Complaint Center website.
"They have a good success rate as far as getting a freeze on those accounts, and people getting their money back," said Mizer. "I’m actually impressed by the work they do there."
Wood, like most banking customers, didn’t realize there were extra steps to take. He felt like his reports both over the phone and in-person would stop the fraudulent activity in his account.
Today, he’s clawed back the money through sheer determination—but many aren’t as lucky.
A timeline documented by Wood showed that phone calls and in-person visits were made numerous times as red flags were raised. He told FOX 13 News that he was given assurances that his money would return to his account, only to be told at a later date that the money had already been transferred when he was given those assurances.
"This is a complete nightmare," said Wood. "The bank messed up, the bank allowed somebody to go in behind closed doors and steal almost $60,000 of my money."
FOX 13 News reached out to KeyBank, which declined to comment, saying:
"We work hard to address our clients concerns and resolve them to the extent we are able. That being said, out of respect for clients’ privacy, we do not disclose or confirm that a person of business is a client, and we do not discuss clients’ activities with the bank."
While KeyBank declined to talk to FOX 13 News, Wood wasn’t finished. He continued to reach out to every manager and executive he could track down, eventually tracking down the company’s CEO.
An email addressed to Wood indicated that the CEO received his message. They eventually returned his money, and apologized. They even told Wood that they would review their practices and training to ensure this didn’t happen again.
"You have to fight all avenues," said Wood. "I had to go to the CEO of the company, who had no idea that this was even going on. I had to show this person and lay it out there with an email correspondence that the bank has sent me to show him this was all out fo my control. They looked at it, and I was thrilled. So it worked out for me."
Mizer told FOX 13 that if you believe you’re the victim on online banking fraud, the faster you provide a detailed report through the IC3 website, the better.
For more information, including on links to file a complaint visit the website here: https://www.ic3.gov/