FISHERS — Chase Bank has reimbursed a man $12,000 he lost in a scam after WRTV got involved.
Tanner Penrod was woken up early on April 13. He got a text message, followed by a phone call, claiming to be the fraud department at Chase.
"They sound exactly like a bank representative I've talked to, 'Ok, we're going to walk you through and get your money back. Sorry this has happened to you,'" he said.
The person on the other line claimed someone was trying to transfer $1,800 out of his account through Zelle, a money-transfer service. They walked Penrod through a series of complicated steps, supposedly to stop the fraudulent payments.
But it turns out the call wasn't about stopping fraud - the call was the fraud. Three transfers later and Penrod was out $11,800.
"I've been saving up to buy a house for about three years. About 20 - 25 percent of my income. So when that amount comes out, it's significant," Penrod said. "The heartache is that you work so hard for the money to be gone so fast."
Jennifer Adamany with the Better Business Bureau Serving Central Indiana says these scams are common and anyone can be a victim.
"Typically they like to catch you off guard so that's why they will pose as a well-known institution, in this case it was Chase Bank, and when your bank calls you, it can be alarming, and they like to tap into that," she said.
Adamany said to be cautious of anyone calling claiming to be your bank. She recommends that if they call, hang up, then call them back using a number you find on the website or the back of your card.
"If the person is really who they claim to be, they'll understand your extra caution. If they try to rush you and keep you on the phone, that's a warning sign," Adamany said.
Penrod realized what was going on and immediately filed a fraud claim at Chase. He was still on the phone as he walked into the branch. The bank responded nearly two weeks later, denying his claim - saying he authorized the transactions.
"I trusted Chase. I've been there for twenty years," he said. "It's a total setback for me. It's a reset I don't want to do, but I'm going to have to because they're not giving me any options."
Zelle is owned by seven of the largest U.S. banks. Scams like this have become so common that the Senate has gotten involved, sending a letter to Zelle's CEO demanding answers.
"The banks are well aware of these scams, but have done little to enhance Zelle's security or reimburse defrauded consumers," Sen. Robert Menendez, D-NJ, said.
A spokesperson for Zelle warns people to treat the app like cash, only use it with people you know and trust because there are no purchase protections.
As of Thursday afternoon, Penrod thought he'd never see that $12,000 again. But not long after WRTV reached out to Chase, the money appeared back in his account.
"I'm almost in tears actually. I appreciate what you did. I don't know what you did, or who's looking out, but it's in there," he said.
Chase Bank provided WRTV with a statement.
“We urge all consumers to never share their banking passwords or send money to someone who tells them that doing so will prevent fraud on their account. Bank employees won’t call, text or email consumers asking for this information, but scammers will.”