On March 3, I discovered that someone stole my 92 year old mother’s CHASE ATM card while she was in the hospital and managed to withdraw over $8,000 during the period of time between February 24 and March 3. We thought that the culprit might have been one of her aides, who have been working for her for years but to date the police cannot prove anything. Whoever did steal the card has done this before. They went to ATM’s all over the Bronx and Manhattan, all either on the street or inside of bodegas – all places where cameras are not available.
CHASE has just informed us that they will not refund my mother the money. They claim that since the pin number must have been given out that the card was compromised and therefore they are not responsible. Her memory is not what it used to be. She needs home health care workers to assist her in the activities of daily life, sometimes going with her to retrieve money from the ATM.
What I would like to know is why CHASE did not flag this suspicious activity and alert us to this? My mother usually made one or two withdrawals every month for a about $100 a piece. In the period from February 24 to March 3, multiple withdrawals were made per day for amounts of $100-200 each from both her her checking and savings account totaling over $8,000 plus non-ATM fees. What is more, all the withdrawals were made at ATM’s in neighborhoods that my mother had never been to before and would not have gone to! What kind of bank allows this to happen without questioning it?
Until she went into the hospital this time, my mother carefully watched her bank account, paid her own bills and balanced her checkbook each month. She would have noticed any unusual withdrawals. However, when she was brought into the Emergency Room in the middle of the night, she was taken without her pocketbook and wallet and the door to her apartment was left unlocked. When I arrived at the ER at the Allen Pavilion of Columbia Presbyterian Hospital, I asked the aid who was scheduled to come in to retrieve her purse and bring it to us in the ER. I didn’t look in the contents of the wallet at this time so I have no idea whether the ATM card was there at that time or not. What I do know is that, once I discovered the money missing from the bank accounts, I did have one of the aides look and she informed me that the card was missing.
I know now that it was not a good idea to leave my mother’s purse in the hospital room with her. But, the thing is, nothing but the ATM card was missing. All of her credit cards were there as well a a small amount of cash.
So, who is responsible? Who stole the card? It might have been one of her aides, though they have been working for her for many years and have never stolen anything before. Or maybe a hospital worker? Or maybe an EMT? Someone working at the Independent Living Retirement community where she lives? The police are investigating but it is doubtful that we will ever truly find out. The police detective on the case has interviewed one of her aides and seems to believe that she is innocent. The other aide is voluntarily going to call and make an appointment to speak to him as well — not something a guilty party would likely do. Could someone have looked in my mother’s wallet, seen her ID cards and guessed at her pin number? It’s possible.
One thing that is clear to me however – CHASE, a bank where my mother has trusted her money for years, had a responsibility to monitor my mother’s accounts for fraud and to alert her (and us) if something was out of character. They failed to do this over a period of two weeks – enough time for a considerable amount of my mother’s life savings (which she needs to live on) to be taken from her. Instead of doing the right thing (for which I am sure they are insured), CHASE has instead decided to take a hard line against an elderly woman. If this isn’t taking advantage of the elderly I don’t know what is.
Apparently there are other complaints against CHASE for this very same thing. A similar thing happened in Watsonville, CA in January of this year which I discovered at RipoffReport.com. What am I going to do next? Alert the media, that’s what.