HAYWARD, Calif. — When it comes to your money, nothing is quite as unsettling as a scammer breaking into your bank account.
It happened in a most unusual way to a woman in the Northern California city of Hayward, who found a stunning delivery in her mailbox.
It was troubling — and almost surreal.
This woman suddenly received a stack of mail containing not one or two, but 70 Chase bank credit cards, issued to 70 complete strangers, all on her credit card account. Even more troubling — it never raised a red flag when someone added 70 names to her account. Instead, the bank went ahead and issued all those fraudulent credit cards.
The stack of envelopes arrived all at once in Tina Kumar’s mailbox.
“I’ve never heard of something so outrageous. I’ve never seen something so outrageous,” she said. “I was overwhelmed when I saw the envelopes. I didn’t know what was going on. and I’ve been, like, in shock since then.”
What was most shocking? Each envelope contained two Chase bank credit cards, each with a different name on the front — and her account number on the back.
“This one is Derrick White and Taylor Thompson,” Kumar said as she showed the cards to our sister station, KGO-TV.
“I was just, like, I was really dumbfounded when I saw it. it was just beyond belief,” she said.
Right away she called the number on the cards to find out what was going on, and suddenly realized she’d just activated the account!
For 70 strangers!
“And when I heard that my card was activated then I panicked. It’s like, ‘Oh no, oh no,'” she said.
She called Chase customer service — and got more upsetting news.
“He said on March 25, somebody logged into my account and added 70 names. And I said, well, how can that happen? And, and, and how come I wasn’t notified? Right?” Kumar asked.
The bank closed the account, gave her a new card and a new log-in.
Luckily no one had used the cards.
“I’m sure, you know, people that were waiting for it to be activated, just would have went on a rampage with charging things,” Kumar said.
But no one explained how 70 fraudulent credit cards slipped through any fraud detection at the bank.
“It’s outrageous. I mean, how can you not have some red flags in your system to stop this from happening? Where are the checks and balances?” Kumar asked.
“I can understand two, three, maybe four or five. But 70? Come on now,” she said.
Chase promised a call from a manager. It never came.
“You would think someone from upper management would contact me and say, ‘Let me check into this, and I’m gonna get back to you, this should never have happened.’ Something like that would have calmed me down,” Kumar said.
“Why isn’t somebody contacting me? You know, at least apologizing that this happened? Tell me something for god’s sakes, you know, but no, nobody apparently cares,” she concluded.
Kumar contacted KGO-TV.
They asked Chase Bank how this happened, and why no one alerted Kumar she had 70 new authorized users on her account.
The bank did not provide specific answers, only general bank information, saying:
“For flexibility, we allow customers to add other users to their credit card account. Both a confirmation of any new authorized user and the additional card is sent directly to the account owner at their address. In this case, the unauthorized cards were quickly closed after Ms. Kumar received them.
“Cardmembers are not responsible for unauthorized charges made with their card, and we encourage customers to alert us if they notice anything unusual with their account.”
Which was little comfort to Tina Kumar.
“What’s gonna happen next, you don’t know. It’s scary. Very scary,” she said.
Kumar says a Chase executive just called her to apologize, promising to investigate what happened.
She had just renewed that credit card when the 70 additional cards came in the mail. She still hasn’t activated hers.
Chase did not say whether it changed its fraud detection systems to catch this sort of crime.
For more information from Chase Bank on their safety measures, click here.
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