KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A disabled East Tennessee woman is despondent this new year after her banking account was hacked. The woman said the account has money deposited from her disability and social security checks.
After her bank account was drained, Theresa Baker was forced to move in with her grown son at his home. Last summer, while vacationing at a park outside of Kingston her debit card was stolen and her online banking account was hacked. She has tried to resolve the issue, but to date, her efforts have failed.
For weeks now, Baker checks for a response from her online banking company, Chime Financial. She has used the service for over a year because of its convenience.
“Well, I went to the online service because my dog and I wanted to camp and travel around a bit, share love and a message with family and friends and enjoy life,” Baker said.
Baker, a former tax preparer, is disabled and draws a disability check. In August, she was at an RV campground outside of Kingston, when a thief broke into her camper and stole her debit card from Chime. She had just turned 62 and was expecting her first social security retirement check that month.
“I got the paperwork from social security telling me that they had decided that I was going to get $480 on my social security. They went ahead and sent my disability check which was $841. It was deposited on Aug. 15. Well, my goddaughter brought my paperwork out on [Aug.] 19. So, I got it! Yay, I got money! But I didn’t have any money. It was all gone,” Baker said.
A report from the Roane County Sheriff’s Office states after her card was stolen, her account was hacked and every penny was taken. She called her bank and reported the crime. Customer service canceled her card and closed her account.
“Then I called social security. Social security told me, ‘Mrs. Baker, we can’t stop the September payment, they’re already in the cycle.’ By this time it was Aug. 23, I believe. She said, ‘Call the bank and have them cancel the account. It will automatically kick back the payment,'” Baker said.
But the payments she lost were never kicked back. Here is what she says Chime wanted her to do first.
“Please verify your identity with a picture of your valid government ID,” read a message from Chime. Baker said she sent the information to the company.
“I get an automated response from a computer,” Baker said. “It states that I need to send verification of who I am, which I do. I take pictures, selfies; I take pictures of my ID. Pictures of my mail from the social security office that shows my current mailing address with my current date on it. I bet I have sent them over 150 emails, if not better. I get the same response, we will back in touch with you. Our Chime member service team is conducting their investigation.”
The person who stole her debit card from inside her camper has not been caught yet. So, where is her money? That’s what she’s asked Chime.
“It’s in the bank. It is in their bank, or it was in their bank. I know it was in their bank because I also have been working with the three credit units to get my credit score and credit straightened out. There it sat,” Baker said.
$480 was deposited into her Chime account last August, but Baker says it was quickly stolen. Right now, Baker says she is owed three direct deposit payments from the federal government.
“These monies are mine and I would just like my money back. The three deposits that were made,” Baker said.
Over the holiday, WATE sent an email to Chime outlining Baker’s issue and asking for someone to get back to her. Neither WATE nor Baker has received any new information since the inquiry.
Right now, Baker says her social security and disability checks are being mailed to her.