GILBERT, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Jenna Lovino says she'd never get anything done if she didn't have her smartphone. "I’m checking my bank statements or texting my son back and forth. So, it's in my back pocket at all times," Jenna told 3 On Your Side.
But recently, while Jenna was on her phone, she got a text message that appeared to be from her bank, Bank of America, where she has two accounts. The text read "Did you attempt a $205.95 purchase at Walmart? Reply Yes or No. "It said to text back yes or no and I replied with no because that was definitely not me shopping at Walmart," she said.
Less than a minute later, Jenna says she got a phone call from a guy claiming he was a fraud investigator with Bank of America and he was trying to stop that fraudulent purchase. “This man gets on the line. What's is so wild to me and replaying it in my mind is he said the exact same protocol that Bank of America would say to a script. So, I assumed I was talking to a Bank of America rep."
Jenna says not only did the guy sound legitimate, but she recognized the 800 number on her screen as actually Bank of America's customer service number. So, she felt comfortable. "I was at ease when he kept saying we're going to fix this so you won't have any more fraud on your account," Jenna said.
Unfortunately, the caller was actually a scammer who provided Jenna instructions that she thought would reverse the fraudulent charge. But instead, it allowed the scammer remote entry into her bank account which allowed him to wipe out two of her two Bank of America accounts. "He was able to instantly wire $120 out of my checking account and $3,300 from my savings account, just like that, in minutes."
Before Jenna knew, more than $3,400 was gone. The Gilbert woman filed a complaint with Bank of America but she says investigators claimed there was not a very good chance of getting her money back.
So, she called 3 On Your Side. "I contacted 3 On Your Side's Gary Harper because I know he has a segment that's been around a long time. And he's helped so many people."
I got a hold of Bank of America and explained Jenna's situation and how she was defrauded. A few days later Jenna says the bank put all of her money back in her account.
Jenna says she doesn't want other people to fall for the scam and says she only got her money back because of 3 On Your Side. "I have to give a shout out to my mother. She told me to contact 3 On Your Side's Gary Harper. You contacted me on Monday and the rest is history."
Bank of America was great to work with and I appreciate the quick resolution.
But this is not just a Bank of America problem. Scammers pose as all different banks and credit unions.
It's so bad, even the Arizona Attorney General's Office also issued a warning telling folks to be on guard.