NEW YORK (WABC) – The New York Senate on Thursday passed legislation to protect people from electronic banking fraud, requiring banks and wire services to warn customers before transferring money.
7 On Your Side’s Nina Pineda warns that wire fraud is a problem that happens more often than you think, and it can be expensive.
Victoria Baptiste, a retired NYPD officer, wishes she had a badge so she could find out where the more than half a million she was owed is parked.
The money is the proceeds from the sale of her family’s Bushwick townhouse: $632,505.71, to be exact, which was remitted after the foreclosure.
“The money was transferred by my closing attorney to my business account,” Batiste said. “I know it takes one to two business days to ship, it’s been a week now.”
She received a message in her bank’s secure message center that the wire transfer was “under review”.
Batiste said she was afraid he was gone.
Seven days later, she received another message, but still no money. And the status didn’t even say that it was being considered.
She began to panic, she needed the money to buy a new property for the family.
Her father, Ben, has health problems. They survived a fire in their Bushwick home, and Baptiste made the difficult decision to part with the property, which is full of family memories.
Now that her money has been withheld, she can’t show proof of having the funds to buy another apartment.
Banks actually delay wire transfers to protect customers from rampant wire fraud.
“We’re talking about millions upon millions of dollars that are being defrauded on a regular basis,” said New York Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris.
That’s why the New York Senate approved legislation that would require a pop-up warning before making a wire transfer or sending money using a cash-out app.
“This would allow people to not send their money when asked for some of the more common scams,” Gianaris said.
This is a step in the right direction, but for bank customers who are not victims of fraud, the delays can cause problems.
Baptiste said “Hail Mary” to get the money.
“The only thing I could do because I felt helpless was to pray, and after I prayed, I heard a voice and that voice said, ‘7 is on your side,'” Baptiste said.
So we contacted the owner of her bank account and within days she had the money.
All $632,505.71 was in the bank.
“The money is there and I was like thank God, thank you Nina and your team,” Baptiste said.
The bottom line: If you have a large transaction, contact your local bank branch manager and let them know what’s going on.
Don’t deposit a large check into a mobile app or ATM, and remember that any large amounts coming in or going out can freeze your account for weeks, even months.
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