KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Union County man has been struggling with his bank after his account had been hacked. At first, there were small $3 charges, then bigger disbursements were made.
For months now, Mark Elliott and his wife have been distracted due to his health. First, there was surgery, then a long rehabilitation period. The retired heating and air technician had been home for a couple of months when he checked his bank balance.
It was zero, and he owed money.
Elliott said in the past, his account had never been in the red.
“The only reason I noticed it was because I called in about an $11 overdraw. So, I called the bank and said, ‘What is this?’ Well, they said it was a charge from Bounce to the Top. I said, ‘Bounce to the Top?’ I’ve never heard of them,” Elliott said.
Bounce to Top is located in Great Britain. Apparently, it sells musical equipment.
“When I turned it into the fraud department at the end of February, the lady at the fraud department said to cut up that debit card, and we’ll send you a new one,” he said. “Well, as of March 28, they’re still sending this company money from the debit card that they told me to cut up in February. There’s been a total of two $39 charges, one $29 charge, five or six $3 charges.”
Elliott said that the charges have added up to over a hundred dollars. It’s something he cannot afford as he is on a fixed income and his wife had to quit her job to better care for him.
“Since my surgery, she had to quit her job. We’re trying to live on a thousand dollars a month, it is not easy,” said Elliott.
The foreign exchange number Elliott wrote down for Bounce to Top is in the county of Essex, in southeast England, between London and the North Sea. The address is a home, not a warehouse. Bounce to Top continues withdrawing money out of his bank account.
“As of March 28, they were still paying them on a debit card they told me to cancel at the end of February,” said Elliott.
Elliott said he is at his wit’s end in trying to resolve the issue.
“I don’t know which way to turn, I’ve done all that I can do. She said you can put in another fraudulent charge. I said, ‘So you can turn it down for the previous activity.’ I said, ‘I have never ordered anything from these people.’ I don’t even know these people,” said Elliott.
WATE contacted Elliott’s bank and was told, “Once a card is canceled due to fraudulent charges, the systems block any further authorizations. There is a possibility the March charges were preauthorized.”
Here are ways to protect your debit card from being hacked:
- Get bank alerts warning you of possible fraud
- Stick to bank ATMS
- Beware of phishing scams
- Never reveal personal information to someone you don’t know
“I’d like to have my money back,” said Elliott.
WATE has learned that Elliott has now gotten all of his money back.
What happened to Elliott is not unusual. According to the FTC, identity theft is the number one reported type of fraud. Scammers gain access to personal information by phishing, where you unknowingly reveal some personal information, then the crooks gain access to your bank account.
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Also, a recent Bankrate survey found that 44 percent of bank customers were using mobile apps to manage their accounts. However, with increased usage, comes a higher risk of cybersecurity problems.
So what can you do to protect your information? The FBI says to use strong passwords and two-factor authentication as protection from cyber criminals.