Siham Scott has been fighting to clear her 18-year-old daughter’s name, after thousands of dollars in fraudulent charges popped up on their joint bank account last spring.
“She’s just starting off,” Scott said. “This will affect her credit and it’s not fair to her.”
The Homestead mother first realized there was a problem on May 20th, when she noticed Kassandra was upset.
“She says ‘Mom, I’m sorry, I don’t know what’s going on with my account’,” she said her daughter told her.
When she logged on to check the account, Scott saw suspicious withdrawals made on the same day from locations all over South Florida. Then she took a closer look.
“I’m like wait a minute,” Scott said. “I started seeing all of these checks deposited on the 19th.”
Scott noticed four Medicare checks, deposited at branches out of state, totaling $7,718.10. When asked if her daughter received any Medicare benefits, Scott said: “She doesn’t receive benefits.”
When Scott called the bank, she says she was told not to worry because Bank of America was going to investigate.
“We’re going to go ahead and open a case,” Scott said she was told. “You don’t have to worry about anything.”
But she soon learned the bank was holding her daughter responsible for the charges because her ATM card and PIN were used and her name was on the checks.
“What the man told me on the phone was that she was conspiring with these individuals that we don’t even know who they are,” Scott said. “She would literally need to be a genius to have someone create fake checks for her in her name and going out of state to deposit without her parents finding out.”
Scott said if this had happened with one of her credit cards, “It would have been disputed, investigated and brushed off.”
According to Greg McBride of Bankrate.com, there’s definitely a difference in urgency when it comes to credit card fraud and check or debit card fraud. McBride says the difference may have to do with who is on the hook while the transactions are in dispute.
“With a debit card transaction, well the toothpaste is out of the tube,” McBride said. “The money is already gone out of the account … and often times they put that burden of proof on their own customers and say well, if you want us to put the money back in your account, you’ve got to prove to us that that was not a legitimate transaction.”
Scott says her request to see surveillance video from the bank was denied. She now plans to check her daughter’s account for fraud more frequently and hopes other parents do the same.
“If you have an account with them, monitor their account because there are devious people out there that are willing to destroy even young kids,” Scott said.
Bank of America told NBC 6 Responds they researched the account, but declined to discuss on the record what happened or the details of their investigation.
Scott reported the incident to Miami-Dade police, who told us they are investigating.