HMH check

STEVENS COUNTY, Wash. -- Fraud is one of the most common crimes in the country. It's something we hear reports of happening daily, but not quite to the extreme of one local nurse.

Andrea Dury wrote in the following 'Help Me Hayley' request saying in part: 

"I write to you today because I need your help. On 9/24/2020 an Umpqua Bank teller cashed a fraudulent check from my savings for the sum of $46,000. On 11/11/2020 I went into my online banking account to transfer funds from my savings to my checking and noticed the transaction had occurred. Being Veteran’s Day, it was hard to get ahold of the bank. Subsequently, I notified the Steven’s County Sheriff (I live in Steven’s county). Eventually, later that day, I was finally able to speak with someone from Umpqua. They said I had to come into the bank to file a report. The next day I met with someone in person at the bank. I asked the person if checks were allowed to be written and cashed from a savings account because as far as I was aware it is a savings account where you save monies not a checking account. He said that no checks are not to be written and cashed to savings accounts. Even after admitting 100% fault the bank refuses to refund the money back to me. The bank not only cashed a check to a savings account. They also cashed a check that did not have my name or address."

Andrea told us she had been trying for more than 100 days to get the matter resolved on her own only to be denied.

"I am an acute care RN that cannot take time off work during this pandemic in order to fight Umpqua in court," she told 'Help Me Hayley.' "For that reason, I am reaching out to you and asking for your help."

Hayley interviewed Andrea last week and began digging into the situation. Andrea gave copies of records from the police report she had filed as well as communication with the bank. Documents detailed why Umpqua had denied her initial claim to get the money returned.

Umpqua's response said in part, "the $46,000 dispute was denied as the Fraud Affidavit was submitted more than 30 days after the statement was issued, which is the allowed time frame to submit a claim."

Andrea says she wasn't regularly reviewing her savings account unless she was pondering a purchase.

"I don't really check my savings account unless I need something," she said. "We had a lot going on. We bought property and we are building."

She said her responsibilities at work were also extra busy around the time this happened. She said the circumstances behind the situation left her angry and stunned.

"Someone had taken money out of my account with my savings account information on it," she said. "(The bank) cashed the check toward my savings account, for a substantial amount of money. The check wasn't in my name...didn't have my address. The address was actually New Jersey."

Andrea said she didn't recognize the name on the check either. It posted to her account on September 24th according to records and was dated for the 23rd. Umpqua stated the fraud claim wasn't submitted until November 12th.

"They said I waited too long to report the fraud," she said. "I've been trying to deal with it myself."

But as weeks turned to months, she feared she wasn't going to be able to get this made right on her own. That's when she wrote to our 'Help Me Hayley.' One week after Hayley began looking into it and reaching out to Umpqua herself, Andrea told Hayley the bank had returned her money.

"(The bank told me) the (money) was bank in my account...I just checked, and it is," she said. "I'm relieved."

A feeling she admits she didn't think would ever come.

"They just kind of were ignoring me," she said. "They wouldn't return my calls. I felt like no one was listening to me. That's why I turned to (Hayley.) I'm so grateful she helped me."

KHQ reached out to Umpqua for their side on what happened. They provided the following statement: 

"Taking care of our customers is Umpqua’s highest priority. Unfortunately, fraud is on the rise and can impact anyone. It’s incredibly important to review your accounts regularly for suspicious activity both to monitor transactions and also because full recovery is more difficult the longer potentially fraudulent activity goes undetected. For more information and resources on how to prevent fraud, click HERE

In this case, our teams have worked carefully to understand the specifics and are pleased to report that we have effectively resolved the matter with our customer.