MATT GEPHARDT

Ogden man says his bank refused to stop a wire transfer scam

Jan 9, 2024, 11:10 PM | Updated: Jan 10, 2024, 8:55 am

OGDEN — Package after package from Amazon started showing up at Gordon Belnap’s doorstep. But he didn’t order them. He didn’t want them. So, he fired up Google’s search engine to find Amazon’s phone number and then called.

“This guy answered,” Belnap said. “I said, ‘Is this Amazon?’ Yes, it is.’”

After a brief back-and-forth about the packages, the supposed Amazon man on the phone blindsided Belnap about something happening on his bank account.

“By the way,’ he said. ‘Did you know that somebody sent $10,000 out of your account to New York?’ And I said, ‘What?’” Belnap said.

Belnap said he worked with the Amazon man on a fix until credit card info was demanded.

“I hung up on him. I knew that it was a fraud,” Belnap said.

Worried the man was doing serious damage, Belnap rushed to his bank, Wells Fargo, where a bank manager confirmed his suspicion.

“They pulled up the screen, and he says, ‘Yeah, they’re sending $10,000 to New York,” Belnap said.

Belnap said the transfer still showed as pending, but the Wells Fargo manager refused to stop it. Instead, the manager dialed up Wells Fargo’s fraud department and handed Belnap the phone. But instead of stopping the transfer there, Belnap said, they referred his case to an investigator.

“They’ll call you in 10 days,” he said. “In 10 days, my money is gone.”

His money was gone in one day. In a letter denying his claim for reimbursement, the bank told him it determined the transfer was done by him or someone who had his username and password, making him responsible.

Fearing his retirement has taken a permanent hit, Belnap contacted the KSL Investigators.

“We had a shot to stop the fraud,” he said.

KSL Investigators reached out to Wells Fargo on Belnap’s behalf. In a statement, they wrote:

As scams continue to change and evolve, we continue to improve our security measures and expand our education efforts to help our customers keep their accounts and information safe.

The spokesperson didn’t address the issue of stopping a pending payment, but on its website, Wells Fargo states: pending transactions are in process and cannot be cancelled.

Still, some good news for Belnap. He said that shortly after we contacted Wells Fargo, he got a call from an apologetic executive. And all the money that had been wired away was actually being refunded into his account.

This week, KSL Investigators reported on a website in federal banking rules that allow banks to not reimburse customers if they determine their customers provided info that allowed a scammer to do the transfer, even if they’re tricked into it. Plus, those rules don’t cover wire transfers.

Now, getting your money back in a case like this is not a slam dunk.

So, to protect yourself, go directly to a company’s website to find out how to reach them about some issue you’re having. Don’t trust the contact info you get from online searches, and never repeat passwords and passcodes back to anyone or give someone remote access to your laptop or phone unless you’ve called them first, using the real number. Financial institutions will only ask for passwords or passcodes through their app or website.

Also, your bank will never ask you to wire money for any reason.

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Ogden man says his bank refused to stop a wire transfer scam