A 31-year-old Hilton Head Plantation woman reported to Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office investigators that she received a text message from 808-400-4819 purporting to be a “Bank of America Fraud Alert” regarding an alleged transaction over Zelle, the bank’s digital service used to transfer money.
The text message asked if she was attempting to make a transfer to “Tomas Allen” in the amount of $5,000. She was instructed to reply “YES” if the transaction was valid, noting that “no further action” would be needed.
The text message continued: “If you did not attempt to make this transfer please reply NO and a representative will reach out to you immediately regarding this transaction.”
The woman texted back “No,” and in minutes received a phone call from 1-800-432-1000, which displayed as “Bank of America” on her phone.
She answered the call and an unknown male, who identified himself as “Adam Morgan,” told her that someone had used her debit card to transfer funds through Zelle. He also asked her if she had used her card in Atlanta recently. She told the man she had not.
The man told her that the transaction was pending and to ensure that her money would not be withdrawn, she would need to transfer the money to Zelle.
He instructed the woman how to do this. She entered her name and phone number as the recipient and transferred $5,000 out of her Bank of America account into Zelle.
Less than 20 minutes later, the woman received two more text messages, this time from 872-395-8360, reading: “Bank of America: Did you send $4,123.22 (ON HOLD) to Chase Zelle Quick Pay. Reply Yes/No/Help” and “Bank of America: Did you send $3,999.22 (ON HOLD) to Chase Zelle Quick Page. Reply Yes/No/Help.”
She then received a call from 1-888-635-6000, which again came up as Bank of America on her phone. A man identifying himself as a Bank of America fraud team member told her that he had disabled the card so that this would not continue to happen, but in the meantime there were a number of pending transactions. The man asked her if she would like a new card shipped out and then had her transfer a total of $14,923.44 to “her account.”
Suspecting she had been scammed, the woman went to a local branch of Bank of America and reported the incidents to bank staff.