A New England mom was scrupulous about maintaining her family’s rainy day fund in a home equity line of credit at her credit union. So Donna Alton* was stunned when she discovered that someone had cleaned out the account in three separate electronic wire transfers. When the credit union refused to replace the funds because they believed the transfers were legitimate, she was at a loss.
Victim of wire transfer fraud
Alton is among a growing number of victims of wire transfer fraud: Criminals use their victims’ personal information to initiate and execute the electronic transfer of funds. In 2011, half of all consumer complaints** to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) involved wire transfer as a method of payment, according to the FTC’s Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, and losses totaled more than $442 million.
In Alton’s case, thieves not only found a way to access her account and request the transfer, they also rerouted all incoming calls from her home phone to another line. When the credit union called Alton’s home to authorize the transfers, the calls went to the thieves, who verified the requests.
Chubb’s identity management services
Fortunately, Alton is a Chubb homeowners policyholder, so she was able to take advantage of our free identity management services offered with the policy. When Alton called Chubb to report her claim, she was seamlessly transferred to Identity Theft 911’s Fraud Resolution Center. From there, her case was assigned to a fraud investigator, who helped Alton until the case was resolved. The investigator also took steps to protect the family’s other accounts and credit by placing a fraud alert on their credit reports.
Because this case involved a large sum of money transferred in three different amounts to three bank accounts (and then to a final account the thieves had set up), it was difficult to navigate and manage. Over a period of several months, Identity Theft 911 helped the Altons cut through a lot of red tape in order to restore their funds and good credit:
- Coordinating letters, complaints and affidavits to law enforcement, regulatory agencies and the family’s cable company and credit union.
- Communicating with law enforcement and the credit union.
- Removing the unpaid home equity line of credit from the family’s credit report.
More than a year later, Alton and her family had recovered their savings and opened a new home equity line of credit. She says of the ordeal, “I learned that insurance is one of those things you don’t think you’re going to need, but when you need it, you don’t want exclusions.”
For proactive inquiries, assistance with resolving identity theft, or help replacing lost, stolen or destroyed documents, Chubb policyholders may call the Chubb Customer Care Team at 866-324-8222 to be connected with a highly trained fraud specialist, or you can visit www.chubbidtheft.com for news alerts on the latest scams, monthly newsletters, links to online resources, and other tips and information.
*Name has been changed to protect customer’s privacy.
** The FTC reports that these numbers include figures from MoneyGram International and Western Union Money Transfer.
For more information, contact your Chubb agent at 513-985-3600 or visit www.chubb.com.
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