Crook Accessed Account

(WSVN) - It’s happened to so many of us: a crook accessing your bank account and withdrawing your money. Does the bank have to give you back the money the crook stole from you? It’s why one South Florida college student called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

Katia has one dog, three cats and …

Katia Buendia, crook stole her money: “And three chickens, which all have names too, which are Samantha, Lindsey and Emma. It’s like a little puppy.”

Which makes it no surprise Katia’s goal is to become a veterinarian.

Katia Buendia: “Specifically primates and big cats because there is never enough attention on wildlife.”

Appropriately, Katia’s problem began when she was with Rocket at a Coconut Grove Park and then got back to her car.

Katia Buendia: “And by the time I was loading my dog up back in my car, I realized my car was broken into, and they stole my purse.”

Katia’s driver license, debit, credit and Social Security Card were taken.

Before she could close her checking account, the crook hit.

Katia Buendia: “They took a check and cashed it against my account for $450.”

For a college student working part-time, that’s a lot of money.

Katia Buendia: “It was all my tax return money. It was gonna pay for school, tuition. I had to pull the money out from somewhere else.”

That was back in August. The bank needed 120 days to investigate to determine if it was their fault the crook was able to get money from Katia’s account.

Katia Buendia: “And on the 120th day, they called me back and said they never had the right amount for the check, and I needed to give them an extra 120 days.”

That made no sense to Katia since she had given the bank everything they requested.

Katia Buendia: “I have an affidavit from the bank. Every piece of documentation that they can possibly need to complete this investigation.”

After waiting six months, Katia has concluded the crook won, and Katia will never get her money back.

Katia Buendia: “So I feel like they were just keeping me on this rotating loop to not give me my money back.”

Howard, if a crook is able to get money from your account, does the bank have to return it to you?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News Legal Expert: “If the bank is negligent, yes, they are responsible. For example, in this case, they allowed the crook to withdraw money from Katia’s account using her identification. A teller should not have done that. That reaches the level of negligence and requires the bank to return her money.”

I contacted the bank, and while it took three weeks, I then got an email from them that said Katia’s ID was received, and the issue was resolved in her favor.

In other words, she got her money back.

Katia Buendia: “This is school money. Responsible ‘adulting.'”

And Howard, when does the bank not have to return the money a crook steals?

Howard Finkelstein: “When the customer is negligent, the bank doesn’t have to return all the money or maybe none of it. For example, if you leave your checkbook on a counter or you write your pin number on a debit card.”

Katia is pretty happy she got her money back, finally.

Katia Buendia: “It could have been resolved quicker. I just think they didn’t want to help me, but thanks to you guys, it’s all back.”

Glad it worked out for Katia. How much time do you have to notify the bank you have been ripped off? It varies, but to avoid all that, go online and check your balance every couple of days. It’s quick, easy and can save you a lot of time in battling to get your money back.

Feel like your chances of solving a problem have flown the coop? Ready for someone to hatch a solution? Contact us. Hopefully, we won’t lay an egg and instead will give you something to crow about.

Reporter: Patrick Fraser at
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.