Online banking is a breeze these days, with many people able to check their accounts directly from their mobile phones. So imagine you log in one day and find that all your savings are gone.
It happened to New York resident Jackie Berman who says a hacker wiped out her Citibank savings account which contained more than $26,000.
“It was really awful – the whole experience,” Berman said.
TV executive Heidi Diamond said the same thing happened to her, with the scammers stealing more than $200,000.
“I panicked and ran to the nearest bank,” Diamond said.
Women’s Trials are two examples of a new scam known as SIM card swapping.
This happens when hackers first steal your personal information online and then contact your mobile carrier and trick them into activating a SIM card. Once that happens, crooks can take control of your phone, passwords, and just about everything else.
Impersonating you, the scammer then contacts your bank and transfers all the money from your account
After Inside Edition contacted Citibank, things quickly changed, at least for Heidi Diamond.
“I believe Inside Edition is where I got my money back,” Diamond said.
They wrote her a check for the full amount she lost – all $200,025.
But Jackie Berman was not so lucky. Four months after she first reported the fraud, she says she’s still missing all that money.
“Citibank has now turned me down not once, not twice, not three times, but five times. And each time my heart stops, because I think, ‘How can they just think I’m going to allow a criminal to have my $26,000?’ Berman said.
Although the two women say their money was stolen by a SIM card scam, Citibank did not tell Inside Edition why Diamond’s money was returned while Berman’s was not. The bank says it has great sympathy for the victims of fraud and says it has done everything possible to recover funds taken from Berman, saying each case is different.
Citi’s full statement to Inside Edition:
“Modern financial scams targeting Americas of all ages and walks of life are sophisticated operations and we have great sympathy for those who fall victim to fraud. We have seen an increasing number of scams, ranging from phishing text messages to automated, internet and email fraud, and we are deeply committed to doing our part to protect our customers from financial fraud. If a customer receives a suspicious unsolicited message, we urge them not to provide any personal or account information and to contact us immediately directly through our Citibank app, our website (citi.com), or by calling the customer service number listed on our website. We have made every effort to request recovery funds that were taken from Ms. Berman by fraudsters using her personal and account information.
Additionally, here are some tips provided by Citibank to help you protect your accounts:
- If you receive a one-time access code that you did not request, do not give the code to anyone who contacts you to obtain it.
- Use known links to access online businesses.
- Verify that all phone, text, or email contacts are legitimate before sharing information such as your account number, security word, PIN, user ID, or password.
- Beware of requests to download apps to fix problems or that allow access to your device.
- For more information on how you can protect yourself against fraud and how Citi makes your security a priority, visit: www.citi.com/fraudprevention.com