Using ‘Loophole,’ Fast-Acting Thief Steals Thousands From Woman

By Jeff Todd

DENVER (CBS4) – Colleen Ingham thought having her wallet in a diaper bag stolen in the parking lot of her child’s day care was the worst thing that would happen, but when her bank accounts were frozen and she was missing $2,000 she decided to find out what happened.

(credit: CBS)

CBS4’s Jeff Todd interviews Colleen Ingham. (credit: CBS)

“Immediately after I found out my bag was stolen I called Wells Fargo and I canceled my credit card, I canceled my debit card and I filed a police report,” Ingham said.

But she didn’t tell the bank her ID card was stolen too. The ID was used at three Wells Fargo drive-up locations around Greenwood Village and Aurora the morning the bag was stolen.

“I didn’t know I needed to call Wells Fargo and say ‘Don’t cash any checks,'” Ingham said.

“They gave my ID even though they look nothing like me. You can go in a tinted window vehicle and no one will ever see your face and once they hand the ID over the teller looking down the drive thru can’t see the face of the person trying to cash the checks.”

Because Ingham’s identity was used to cash the checks her bank account was docked for nearly two weeks while her bank looked into the issue.

“My first instinct was, well they went to a bank, we’re going to be able to get a video of this. we’re going to be able to get a license plate and that’s actually not the case,” she said. “Almost everyone I talked to at Wells Fargo told me that this loophole exists. They are putting their customers at risk because they want to make it convenient for people.”

Ingham got her $2,000 reimbursed to her Tuesday afternoon.

Wells Fargo told CBS4 it was looking into the incident but didn’t think check fraud at drive-up banks is an issue.

Wells Fargo added these tips

1. Do not leave keys/wallets/purses in your car, even if you lock it.
2. Contact your bank and request that a password be used for all cash transactions.
3. As mentioned earlier, monitor your accounts frequently (at least weekly) – online and mobile are good ways to do that.
4. Consider setting up mobile alerts through your bank so you’ll be notified when your alert criteria is met. There are many options for alerts and they can include when your account balance drops to a certain level, a transaction of a certain size happens, and more.
5. If your information has been compromised check your credit report for unusual/inaccurate postings and notify the reporting companies of the errors.

Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.

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