ST. LOUIS – Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr. are two boxing champs past their prime. They duked it out it in a pay-per-view event the weekend after Thanksgiving. Fight fans like Cassie Strothkamp didn’t care that these former heavyweights are over the hill, although she still thinks the judges robbed Tyson of a victory.
“I don’t think it was a draw,” Strothkamp said.
Turns out the real crime happened the day after the fight. Cassie says her husband got a fraud alert text message from their bank.
“We didn’t think much of it,” Strothkamp said.
Thinking it was the $50 they paid for the fight, Cassie’s husband replied “Y” to the alert, saying it was a valid charge. When the Strothkamps checked their account the next day, they discovered they’d been charged $50 exactly 39 separate times for a total of nearly $2,000. Shocked, they called First State Community Bank, wondering how this was possible. Cassie says the bank only sent one $50 fraud alert, not 39.
“Since he said ‘yes,’ that meant that individual could take it out as many times as they want, as much money as they want. From my understanding, there’s no more protection. And that the bank does not have to refund us that money since we said it was ok. But we did not ok 39 charges of $50,” Strothkamp said.
A financial blow as devastating as a late-round knockout.
“We’re out almost $2,000. Right after Thanksgiving. I have Christmas coming up. I have property taxes. We work hard for money and we’re just not getting the protection from the bank like I thought we would,” Strothkamp said.
It’s hard to know exactly how the Strothkamps’ account was compromised, but if the bank’s fraud alert system deemed one $50 charge suspicious, why weren’t the other 38 $50 charges flagged? And how does verifying one charge leave the Strothkamps on the hook for the other 38 charges when they didn’t receive 38 other alerts?
The bank didn’t answer those questions but responded with the following statement:
“If the customer responds to the text approving the alert, the bank will honor the alert and subsequent similar transactions.” It adds, that for text alerts to work properly, it is critical that the customer read the message and respond appropriately.
Now for the good news. The Strothkamps say me after FOX 2 got involved, the bank agreed to make them whole, even though the bank said it had no legal liability for the money they lost. Here’s a lesson for all of us: use a credit card if you can. Fraudulent activity is easier to dispute.