Clearwater woman finds $2,000 in mysterious Zelle transfers from her bank account

Better Call Behnken

She says she tried to stop one pending transaction, but the bank said it couldn't be done

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – Rita Woolums was stunned to check her online banking statement and discover transfers through Zelle. She says she didn’t even know what Zelle was.

Well, she does now.

Since early October, she has been trying to figure out how someone was able to get into her online banking account and send two $1,000 transfers to a stranger. The worst part, she says, is that she discovered this when one transfer was still pending, and Regions Bank wouldn’t stop the transfer.

“I said, ‘I see another one pending. Can you please stop it?’ And they said, ‘no, we have to let it finish, and you should get your money back.'”

Well, you can imagine that it didn’t play out that way.

Wollums said she she disputed the transfers three separate times. The bank denied her claims all three times, saying they could not confirm fraud because the IP address that was used matched hers. She thinks her computer or phone was hacked.

“I said, we’ve been customers for 30 years, and I feel like you guys aren’t standing behind me,” she said.

So she filed a report with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, froze her bank accounts and credit reports, and even changed internet providers then she knew she’d Better Call Behnken.

A Regions spokesman promised an investigation and, within hours, Woolums received a phone call from Regions that the decision was reversed. Every penny of the $2,000 was put back into her bank account.

The spokesman said the bank’s investigation had not been able “to verify any instance of hacking, but a decision has been made to provide a reimbursement of $2,000.”

As for why the pending transaction wasn’t stopped at Woolums’ request, the spokesman explained that digital payment applications “are a way to quickly send money from one person to another.” Pending payments, generally speaking, are not stopped due to the real-time nature of these transfers.”

If you see a suspicious transfer, you should call your bank right away. In addition, check your account regularly to make sure you don’t see any transactions you did not authorize.

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