imposter-cashes-fake-check-inside-bank;-mom-of-three-out-$8,000

STOCKTON (CBS13) — A Stockton mom of three was out $8,000 after her bank cashed a fake check for someone posing as her, and refused to give her money back.

“Somebody just took everything I was trying to save,” Vanessa Tafolla said.

Tafolla says she was home in Stockton when someone walked into a Bank of America nearly 400 miles away in La Palma, California, claiming to be her. The scammer deposited a fake $9,550.50 check from Canada, signed Vanessa’s name and walked out with $8,000 cashback. When the fake check was returned unpaid, Vanessa was out the money she’d spent years saving to buy her first house.

“It was just a roller coaster of emotions. Mostly I was mad,” said Tafolla.

Vanessa reported the fraud, but the bank refused to refund the money, saying the signature matched the one on file.

“That’s when I was like this is not right. This needs to get fixed. And just very frustrated,” said Tafolla.

More from CBS Sacramento:

After the Call Kurtis team got involved, Bank of America “credited her account for the full amount” saying, “Upon further review, we verified that fraud had occurred.”

When we asked how it happened, a spokesperson for the bank said, “We can’t always verify the authenticity at time of deposit. If items are returned as unpaid, the customer is responsible for those funds.”

“I would expect them to verify my identity to make sure it was me. To do more than what they did. I think it’s ridiculous…It’s just very scary that people are able to do this so sneakily,” Tafolla said.

How did someone walk into a bank and do this? Bank of America can’t tell us what failed but says they have various authentication steps including checking identification and signatures.

When they verify fraud, they work to return the money.

Read Bank of America’s Full Statement below: 

“While tellers are trained to look for signs that a check or ID may be fraudulent, we can’t always verify the authenticity at time of deposit. In this case, upon further review we verified that fraud had occurred, we worked with the client to credit her account.

With regards to placing holds on checks and making funds available, we will attempt to make funds available to the customer immediately or the next business day as a matter of customer satisfaction, including in some cases before the funds are verified. If items are returned as unpaid, the customer is responsible for those funds.

We have various authentication steps that tellers use for over the counter check deposits, including a visual review of ID and signatures.  When fraud is verified we work with the impacted customer and attempt to recoup the losses. We cannot be more specific about our process as that would enable those engaged in fraud to attempt to avoid our safeguards.”

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By Richard Moran

Richard Moran loves to write about sports with the Golden State Online. Before that, he worked as a senior writer at ESPN. Richard grew up in San Diego and graduated from the University of San Diego in 2004, after which he worked as an editor for five years.

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