Tipline Investigation: Hackers delete small business owner’s bank accounts

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Our NewsChannel Tipline investigation delves into the dark world of hackers and thieves. We all deal with passwords, two-factor authentication, security questions, multi-step, it’s wonderful. We do all this to stop or at least slow down the poplars. However, sometimes that is not enough.

Michael Epley’s nightmare began last year. She was on her way home from a holiday in Mammoth Lakes when her son’s phone rang.

“It was Verizon and they were asking me if I had just changed my account administrator and I said,‘ No, I didn’t, ’Epley said.

A few hours later, Epley arrived home.

“My friend was sitting at home and told me he had just called me and someone else had answered the phone,” Epley said.

Then he realized that Epley was doing something wrong. He hadn’t received a text message or phone call in a long time. So he went straight to the Verizon store in Santa Barbara.

“And they told me, yes, two administrators were added to my account and they went ahead and changed me again and then they informed me that my SIM card number had changed,” Epley said.

A SIM card identifies a phone, controls its phone number, security features, and access. Basically the SIM controller controls the phone and everything in it, including access to bank accounts. Epley says his next stop was Union Bank, where he had his own business account. He talked to a manager.

“And he laughed a little and said, ‘Oh, there’s no way this is going to happen.’ No one is in your mind. ‘ And I said, ‘Look and let me know.’ And probably almost everything was being transferred from my account. “

And it was happening before their eyes. Epley said the bank immediately froze the account and hoped it would be enough to stop the transfers. However, a few days later all the money disappeared from his small business account, about $ 35,000.

“So he was transferred to Zellera, and then to Chasera and beyond
They took him to Wells Fargo, “Epley said.

After that, Epley also found out that the villains had stolen all of his 401,000 retirement savings. He presented police reports to Santa Barbara Police and tried to figure out how that happened. Epley said that initially Verizon was helpful and that the criminals agreed to allow the wireless carrier to appear as Epley and convinced a direct Verizon agent to grant access to Epley’s account.

“It simply came to our notice then
he has logged in and changed the passwords they can do whatever they want, “Epley said.

According to Epley, Verizon was given the keys to his phone to allow thieves to steal everything. Then he called our Tiplin for help. We contacted Verizon for more information. In fact
For example, when hackers called Verizon trying to gain access to Epley
account The Verizon representative asked for the password, two of which were used
ask for factor authentication or a secret security question?

However, Verizon responded with a different version of events. Verizon wrote: “Our
The scam team has determined that unauthorized users could not access it
the customer’s Verizon account ”and was not directly involved in fraud
Epley’s account. Verizon also claims that the villains hacked Epley
to enter personal email and steal everything.

Epley told us it was new to him.

“They won’t tell me anything without a summons,” Epley said.

NewsChannel also contacted Wells Fargo, Chase and Union Banks. He was the only one willing to support Union Bank Epley by agreeing to conduct a more in-depth investigation. About two months later, Union Bank admitted that Epley was a victim and offered her help. We don’t know the details, but we do know that Epley is happy with the way it ended.

“It simply came to our notice then
in another way, of course, this is something that could not have happened
without you, ”Epley said.

We would like to thank Union Bank for supporting Epley. As for Verizon, we asked if Epley’s version of events is being discussed, and so far Verizon isn’t discussing it.

Epley also returned all the money for retirement because he was insured. That means the villains have raised nearly $ 300,000.

Santa Barbara police said they are still investigating.

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