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East Texas woman falls victim to mobile banking fraud

TYLER, Texas (KETK) - In this day and age, technology is at our fingertips. For the most part, it makes everyday tasks like checking your bank account easier to do, but it also poses a great security risk. 

Being able to pay your bills or check your balance on your smartphone is convenient until you realize you've become a victim. That's what happened to 24-year-old Hayley Cooper. 

"$2,500 had been transferred out of my account that weekend," said Cooper. "I saw that it was a direct Zelle transfer. It's what Bank of America uses to transfer money from person to person."

She claims she has never used Zelle before and the name on the transfer "Gina Adams," was one she didn't recognize. 

"I noticed it, these two different transactions. I never got a text, didn't get an email. Nothing from the bank," she said. 

At first when she contacted Bank of America, they assured her there would be no problem in getting her money back. 

"They denied it and said that they can not give me my money back because I either did the transaction myself or I authorized it and that it's my fault if I allowed someone access to my account, but there's not one person who knows my account." 

She pulled her text logs to prove she didn't authorize it and eventually found one email in her junk folder to a Yahoo account. 

"I'm not sure if it's from the Yahoo email hack that happened this fall, if maybe that's how they got that, that was linked to my bank account and maybe it was the same password or somehow they figured out the password," she continued. "That's kind of the closest thing we can come up with."

 To be safe, she filed a police report. 

"When I went into the branch here and gave my manager my police report number, she said 'I'm surprised that you even filed a police report for such a small amount.'"

We got in touch with Bank of America, asking for information about Hayley's case. Two days later we got a text from her that said "Got my money back!!!"

"I'm so happy. I could've like fell over dead when I realized she was giving me my money back," she said. "She was like I just want to let you know that the IP addresses did show that the transactions were not taken place in the geography of where you were on that night."

She said she feels like they never really looked into the information they had at hand. 

"It's been over a month and a half now and I just now got the money back and it's only because a reporter had reached out to them." 

Former fraud analyst Alex Fulmer recommends staying local for bank security. 

"They probably thought, online banking, well she had to confirm it. That's what happened," said Fulmer. 

She encourages people to change their passwords every six months and monitor your bill pay. 

"You can even set up alerts to whenever bill pay is created, especially for a new person or when one is sent out," said Fulmer. "In order to kind of bypass it, set up your bank that you have small limits that you can transfer a very small amount out, or if you're not going to use the feature at all turn it off completely." 

Through bank Regulation E, consumers are protected from unauthorized electronic transfers. Fulmer said it states anything over $50 is likely to be refunded if the bank is notified within two days after learning of the theft. 

"Cyber crime uses any and all holes necessary for fraudsters to use to their advantage," she said. 

Like any personal information that is shared online, mobile banking that seems secure is not safe from criminals. 

"I'm just scared because I don't want it to happen again," said Cooper. "I'm sad that it had to go this far, but I'm excited that it was proven it was not me." 

Bank of America said "we have resolved the issue for the customer and for privacy and security reasons, cannot provide additional details." 



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