I am...

a statistic
a victim
temporarily insolvent
broke for 3 to 5 business days

So I ran by the ATM on Wednesday and took out some cash. I was a little (very) concerned when I looked at the balance and it was much, much lower than it should have been. "Hmmm... odd", I thought. So I called the automated line and heard the last five withdrawals. One of them, from three hours before, was for nearly the total of what should have been my combined savings and checking balance. I was eating a blue cheese greaseburger with plenty of onions on it at the time. The onions did backflips in my stomach as I heard that. I, of course, finished eating the burger and potato salad, drank my coffee (you can't fight identity theft on an empty stomach and with a caffeine deficiency) and drove back to work so I could check online.

At Work...
I pulled up my online account and saw what I already knew. Someone had transferred all but $8 from my savings account into my checking account. Then they transferred all but $200 from my checking account to their account. I called the phone number that you're supposed to call (1-877-aww-crap) and talked to a very kind person. He verified that, yes, there was a very large (for me) transfer from my bank and I should speak to my wife about it. I explained that I had spoken to my wife and she certainly did not do this. He said that I need to be sure I didn't transfer my money to the Southern Commerce Bank of Pompeii. So, I texted Jane Anne and asked her... "Hey, you didn't happen to send all of our money to Pompeii today did you? I think someone robbed us. I'm talking to the bank now." Well, Pompeii turned out to be Palm Bay.

So, here's what actually happened. On Saturday around noon someone accessed my online banking account and set up my account to authorize transfers to his account at his bank. Who is he?

Christopher D. Hunte
His account number is xxxxxxxxxxx
His Bank is the Southern Commerce Bank in Palm Bay, Florida
His IP address for the computer is: xxx.xx.xxx.xxx

How do I know? Because he (assuming he wasn't using a stolen identity, which he probably was) had to enter his name and account number in order to set up the transfer account. When I spoke to my bank's fraud department, they told me the three IP addresses that accessed my bank account that day, two of which are mine.

Flash forward to Wednesday. The person who wanted my money more than I did logged into my account online, transferred the balance of my savings to my checking and my checking to Florida. Kudos to him though. I believe he turned off all account notifications and he left $200 in the account. On the off chance that I needed to get gas or used my debit card that day, it would have been fine. The absolute only way I knew was because I decided to go to eat at a place so out in the middle of nowhere that they didn't take debit/ credit cards- cash or local checks only. I went across the street to the gas station to use their ATM machine (which I believe had a rotary dial phone hooked up to it in order to withdraw money from my bank) and get some cash. That's when I saw the balance. And that's when the fun began.

Today, my bank was able to stop the money from going to Mr. Hunte's bank account and the Southern Commerce Bank is wiring the money bank. It will take 3-5 business days. Until then, we have about $170 to buy groceries. We have had many many friends offer help. Thank you. We should be fine.

I am, however, keeping a file of everything I have done over the last 36 hours. I have changed passwords, placed fraud alerts on mine and my wife's SSNs with the credit reporting agencies, prepared to do it for the children since their SSNs are online with the bank, filed a police report, filed an Identity Theft claim with the Federal Trade Commission, and called many creditors to tell them that the checks that they are receiving are not going to be good for a few days.

Strangely, we have been at peace. Mostly. We have a great bank (USAA) and trust them a lot. I got a little down today when doing everything that I listed in the above paragraph though. It was amazing that I happen to catch it just three hours after he had taken it. If it had been today instead of yesterday, It would have been a very different story. The money would have been deposited in his account and he would have presumably withdrawn the money and been gone.

So, that's the whole story. I'll edit this with an update when the money gets back.


Dan Parsons said...

Wow - scary story. Glad to hear that things seem to be working out. Let's hear how it turns out...

Bill, Shannon & Maddie said...

Wow Seth! That is terrifying! God's timing is perfect, though & He's watching out for you guys!

Jill said...

I'm going to find that guy on Facebook and tell him what I think of him!

momstheword said...

This is awful! I am so glad you discovered it in time. A gal I knew had her purse stolen and the thief went to the bank to get some money out.

Our other friend was a bank teller there and knew that this person was not who she said she was but unfortunately the gal got away.