This is a follow-up to my post Alert for Citizens Bank Customers from November 2018. For nearly the past six months, I have been trying to recover funds withdrawn from two different accounts with Citizens Bank that were the victim of check fraud. In the process, I have come to realize that Citizens Bank is perhaps the worst bank I have ever worked with in my life. The amount of obstacles and delays that I have encountered is almost unbelievable. The lack of concern for a client, who is the victim of a crime that looks like an inside job at the bank, is astounding. Here is an update, based on the original post linked above:
- The check fraud perpetrated against my personal account has been refunded.
- The ACH fraud perpetrated against my mother’s account has been refunded.
- Six fraudulent checks drawn on my mother’s account amounting to almost $5,000 have NOT been refunded.
- Funds were withdrawn from my personal account in January 2019 that were not initiated by us. Citizens charged that same account $90 in overdraft fees as it was at a zero balance, because it was permanently closed on November 5, 2018 when we reported the fraud.
So, where does this stand?
Citizens Bank is now asking that I sign new affidavits to even investigate the fraud on my mother’s account that has yet to be returned. My mom passed away in late November 2018, so this ongoing matter prevents us from moving forward to complete the affairs of her Estate. The day we reported the check fraud on our account and hers, we signed and notarized affidavits at Citizens Bank. Citizens Bank investigated and repaid the check fraud on our personal account, but hasn’t done a thing with the check fraud on my moms. They have sent me new affidavits two prior times, each of which were wrong. They asked me to attest that we had not signed the checks in question. The signature is not the issue. Another set asked that we send the affidavits to the payee, who is the criminal that perpetrated the fraud. Sure, lets send the crook an affidavit to sign and notarize. That makes sense. The internal controls at Citizens Bank seem to be nonexistent. Below are copies of the backs of all of the fraudulent checks that Citizens Bank paid. They look remarkably similar, don’t they?
These images represent six fraudulent checks, presented against two different accounts over a period of a few days. The original post shows the front of these checks. These backs clearly show it is the same persons handwriting. So, given that one fraud case was able to be researched and refunded using the original affidavit, why is it that the larger fraud case is not? This is the same type of fraud and the same perpetrator, yet Citizens Bank seems unable to even research this. Why? They know who they paid these checks to. Why haven’t they demanded these funds back from that bank, where the thief is doing their handywork?
We also have a letter from Citizens Bank, on their letterhead, signed by the Assistant Branch Manager confirming that our accounts were permanently closed due to extreme fraud. Here is a slightly redacted copy of that letter, as I do not hold the manager who signed this at fault for this terrible situation.
I post this letter, becuase how could Citizens Bank process charges and assess us overdraft fees on a permanently closed account? They did and then charged it off and reported us to an agency that monitors delinquent checking accounts. Clearly, no one is paying attention to what is going on within the bank.
Over the last six months, I finally was able to get this case escalated to the Office of the Chairman and have been in contact with a woman there for the last month. It is under her escalated watch that this charge off took place and the fourth request for new affidavits has been received. Throughout, we the victims are made to feel like this is our fault and the burden is solely on us to push and push and push for resolution. Not once has Citizens Bank accepted responsibility for this ongoing saga, not even when refunding two of the fraud cases. The funds just appeared, with no admission of responsibility.
Just this week, I requested to speak with the manager of the person in the Office of the Chairman as I am at my whits end with how to make progress. Would you believe that she would only provide the managers first name? A very common first name no less. There must be hundreds of Citizens Bank employees with this persons name. I had to push hard before she would finally provide me with this persons phone number, but never her last name. I left this manager a message yesterday, after waiting over 24 hours to hear from her. I have yet to have my phone call returned.
This is the type of bank Citizens Bank is. I urge anyone who banks with them to find another bank before you become victimized by their lack of internal controls and accountability.
Fortunately, our local police department has assigned a detective to our case and the State AG’s office has engaged the State Banking Commission and the US Comptroller of the Currency to try to help us. I’m hoping by increasing the pressure on the bank that someone of reason will become involved and refund the money that has been illegally held from us for the past six months. Any bets on whether or not they pay us interest on these funds they have illegally withheld from us?