US Bank Customer ‘Feels Like a Criminal’ After Thousands Stolen From Account, Pleas for Help Ignored for Months: Report

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An elderly couple in Chicago says thousands of dollars was abruptly stolen from their U.S. Bank account – and that was just the beginning of a banking nightmare.

It started when the Zaragosas, who have been married 70 years, sent a $62 check in the mail to Nicor Gas to pay their bill, CBS Chicago reports

By the time the check arrived at their bank, however, the $62 had somehow changed to $4,200, and the gas company was no longer the recipient.

The Zaragosas had fallen victim to a “check washing” scam.

Check washing is when a bad actor gets ahold of someone else’s check and alters the dollar amount and payee’s name, usually using chemicals like nail polish remover, bleach or paint thinner to wash away the original ink.

The money that had been stolen from the couple was set aside for future funeral expenses.

Says 88-year-old Diana,

“We tried to have money to be buried, when it’s our time.”

Following the incident, the Zaragosas went through a frustrating five-month ordeal with U.S. Bank, filling out various forms and jumping through hoops, seemingly all for nothing.

In a letter to the bank, the couple wrote,

“We have provided all requested information. We are all exhausted and would like to ask you to help us.”

It wasn’t until after telling their story to CBS Chicago that U.S. Bank decided to be productive with the Zaragosas.

The news outlet says that within 24 hours of them reaching out to the bank, the elderly couple suddenly received all their money back.

Diana says the experience made her “feel like a criminal” and has some questions about U.S. Bank’s security protocols.

“Why didn’t they ask that person all these questions that they’re now asking us?”

The Zaragosas have now given up on physical checks and say they will be paying all their bills online from here on out.

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