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Interesting Identity Theft Occurrence

Dell / Inspiron one 2320
April 14, 2020 at 14:36:04
Specs: Windows 10, I5-9400
I'm pretty sure I know what's going on here, but I'd like to hear from the wisdom of The Lounge to see if anyone has the same idea as I do.

My 30-ish YO daughter is a victim of identity theft. Over the past 10 years, she's had cellphone accounts opened in her name, store charge cards, cable TV contracts, etc. "She" even sold a camper to an elderly couple, cashed the check and, of course, never delivered the camper. That phone call, from a detective in Wisconsin, just as she got off a plane in NY, was one of the strangest ones.

Through careful monitoring, freezes on credit reports, and always filing the correct paperwork as issues arose, she hasn't lost any money and her credit rating has not been harmed. It's been a lot of work to stay on top of it all, but we've been vigilant and quick to react.

Things have been quiet for the past few years, until this week. She received an account statement from AMEX. No, she does not have an AMEX account.

Apparently someone has opened not 1, but 2, savings accounts in her name. Savings accounts don't require a credit check, so both banks just happily opened the accounts for "her" with whatever information they were given. At least as far as the AMEX account goes, they used her name and former (my) address. We haven't heard from the other bank yet, so we don't know what address they used, but they did use her name because it shows up on the AMEX transaction report. That other bank is Metropolitan Commercial Bank.

So take a look at this transaction report and tell me what you think. Why would someone open two savings accounts, make a bunch of tiny deposits into one, and then transfer most of it to the other account?

message edited by DerbyDad03

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April 14, 2020 at 15:03:55
Probably they opened the small bank account, then "deposit" a large amount, with a phony check, then withdraw a substantial amount of the phony funds before the check has cleared.
A variation is to Deposit the phony check in Bank A, then transfer to Bank B then withdraw as much as they can from Bank B.
Many banks have a limit on how much you can withdraw after you deposit a check,
an electronic funds transfer may not have that safeguard, the thief just takes the max amount, then simply walk away leaving both banks looking for your daughter.


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April 14, 2020 at 15:08:07
white washing some money or tax evasion maby, using good people as cover. looks like it could happen to anyone.

why such small amounts of money tho?

makes me wonder...


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April 14, 2020 at 15:21:19
re: Many banks have a limit on how much you can withdraw after you deposit a check,
an electronic funds transfer may not have that safeguard

In my experience (I work with banks) a withdrawal is a withdrawal. In-person, ATM, ACH whatever. "Substantial amounts" may make require longer hold times, new accounts even longer.

I'm not saying that's not it, but I have a different idea as to what the plan was.

message edited by DerbyDad03

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April 14, 2020 at 16:09:00
I have a different idea as to what the plan was.

Would you care to share?


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April 14, 2020 at 17:30:30
I expect that it has something to do with Google.

It is possible to open a bank account with no deposit???

Is that what Donald Trump does?

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

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April 14, 2020 at 19:26:45
I'm with hidde663: Money Laundering

Deposit relatively small amounts (like low 5 figures) into various accounts, move it around and eventually withdraw it. The paper trail get confusing for the inspectors and the original source becomes hidden in the muck.

Here's a decent high level explanation:

As far as the small initial transactions at the beginning, some banks do that to test their own system to make sure that any automatic/scheduled transactions will actually work when they need do. Until the automatic deposits and withdrawals work, they don't allow the clients to set up ACH transfers.

message edited by DerbyDad03

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April 14, 2020 at 19:40:32
re:" It is possible to open a bank account with no deposit?"


Imagine an elderly person setting up an account to receive their first SS check.

Imagine a first time employed person wanting to set up direct deposit of his paycheck.

Imagine a retired person wanting to roll his 401(k) into an IRA.

Imagine a person with an IRA account wanted to convert some of it into a Roth IRA. (BTW - down markets are the best time to do that. All of the growth from the recovery will be tax free.)

Your Grandpa died and left his substantial fortune to his cat. The executor needs an account to transfer the cat's money into.

There are lots of reasons to open accounts with no deposit. Happens all the time.

message edited by DerbyDad03

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August 14, 2020 at 08:44:58
uumm maybe, not sure. Someone decides to get rid off some money in shadow. Like depositing it slowly, to keep it from radar, and then after a certain amount, transferring to their account as a valid source of money. And maybe they got your daughter IDs through fraud or black market. Who knows, if you can't access that money, then sure it isn't some charity.

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