A small business owner in Chicago lost his life savings after thieves stole thousands from his Chase bank account for several months.
Edward Swanigan, owner of an auto repair shop, did not know anything was amiss until he received a call from a collection agent.
“Someone from Chase collection agent called me to collect on a $5,000 overdraft,” Swanigan recalled to 6ABC.
Somehow, the unknown culprits obtained his debit card information and began siphoning money regularly. They stole over $23,000 from his savings from locations all over the world, 6ABC reported.
“It was 2, 3, 4, 10 transactions a day. Every day of the week,” Swanigan said told the station.
Swanigan deposited money into his business account a couple times a month for over a decade. He didn’t notice the missing money because his deposit slips didn’t list a balance and he doesn’t do online banking. He received paper statements in the mail but he didn’t look at them because he assumed his money was safe.
“I just don’t have time, I mean, I know I got money in the bank,” Swanigan said. “And why do I have to check it if I feel comfortable with my money in the bank?”
To make matters worse, Chase refused to refund the money because Swanigan missed their 60-day reporting window.
“They said it took more than 60 days to report it so there is nothing they can do for me,” Swanigan told 6ABC. “What’s the sense of having your money in the bank if you can’t feel like you can sleep at night worrying that somebody isn’t going to take it?”
The Federal Trade Commission suggests customers keep a close eye on their bank information to prevent theft. This includes regularly reviewing bank statements for any differences.
“Open your monthly statements promptly and compare them to your receipts. Report mistakes or discrepancies as soon as possible,” the FTC suggested on its website.
The FTC also encouraged consumers to guard their account numbers, PIN numbers and other sensitive information. Additionally, the account owner should destroy old bank statements and cards so thieves can’t use them to steal data.
Chase confirmed to 6ABC Swanigan will not be reimbursed and added “one year passed until he notified us of unauthorized transactions.”
The FTC website states “liability depends on how quickly” the account owner reports the incident.
The incident has left Swanigan “depressed” and affects his ability to work.
“It’s hard for me now because I have no capital to work with because they took everything,” Swanigan said.
Swanigan filed reports with the police and the attorney general’s office.