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An Edmonton woman says she notified her bank immediately after her wallet was stolen, but that a known fraudster was still able to call the bank three weeks later, change her account information and then transfer $2,000 from her account.
Tiffany O'Dell, 23, claims that ATB Financial not only failed to prevent the fraud, but implied she had taken the money herself.
After calls from CBC Go Public, ATB admitted it had made a mistake by not reimbursing O'Dell and said it would review its procedures to make sure it didn't happen to other clients in the future.
On March 3, someone stole O'Dell's backpack containing her wallet and other personal items.
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"I went through the process of beating myself up for quite a while," she said. "My backpack doesn't leave my side anymore."
O'Dell said she immediately called ATB to cancel her credit and debit cards, filed a police report and began the process of replacing her identification.
Four weeks later she got a late-night email from ATB saying a $2,000 e-transfer had been accepted -- something she hadn't authorized.
"I shot up out of bed and my heart sank," she said.
"I went to the computer and tried to sign in. All of my ATB credentials were changed and I couldn't get into my online banking."
'You just feel helpless'O'Dell said she spent a sleepless night waiting for ATB's call centre to open at 7 a.m.
"You just feel helpless. You just feel sick. Nobody can help you at that point," she said.
"Everything's locked. You're like a prisoner in your own life."
She said that once the call centre opened she learned someone had made several calls to ATB between 10 and 11 p.m. the previous night, changed her log-in information and then made the email transfer after the bank's call centre closed.
O'Dell said ATB told her it was disabling her online account and launching an investigation.
O'Dell said she heard nothing more until three weeks later, when someone from ATB called to say the bank had decided not to reimburse her the $2,000.
She said she was told the email transfer had originated from the same internet IP address that had been used to pay her bills previously.
"I kind of broke down when she told me that on the phone. I said it doesn't make sense to me," she said.
O'Dell said she believes ATB was accusing her of transferring the money to herself and lying about the theft.
"My only bank for over 10 years," she said. "They have treated me with such disrespect."
ATB dismissed evidence, says customerO'Dell said it appears to her that ATB's security procedures are faulty, after someone was apparently able
to change all her log-in passwords over the phone, using only information from her stolen wallet.
O'Dell said that when she called to report the fraud, she wasn't asked any of her own private security questions.
She also says ATB's investigators dismissed evidence she provided.
She said she showed ATB that her name was spelled incorrectly on the e-transfer confirmation as "odell," and even told them Edmonton police had arrested a woman who was carrying her stolen identification.
Court records show a 25-year-old woman has been charged with possession of stolen property — O'Dell's identification.
The woman was on Edmonton Crime Stopper's most wanted list after walking away from a halfway house, and since 2013 she had been sought on a Canada-wide arrest warrant. She has previous convictions for dozens of fraud, theft, impersonation and various credit card offences.
After sharing details of the woman's arrest with ATB, O'Dell said she was told someone would call her back, but heard nothing until almost two weeks later, after calls from Go Public.
'We did not do the right thing', ATB saysDespite several requests to ATB Financial for an interview or further comment, including to president and CEO Dave Mowat, Go Public received only a brief statement from Barry Strader, ATB's corporate reporter, reputation and brand.
"In reporting a stolen card and a fraudulent transaction, the customer did the exact right thing. In deciding not to reimburse her immediately, we did not.
'A huge problem', says consumers associationThe Consumers' Association of Canada says it gets several complaints a week from people who say their banks are refusing to compensate them after a fraud claim.
"There's obviously a huge problem at the moment," said Bruce Cran, the association's president.
"The banks generally … have become very aggressive with accusing people," he said, adding that he has no faith in banks' investigations.
"I think there are many questions that remain to be asked and answered," he said.
"Consumers and Canadians in general want to know what the heck is going on here. I think it's about time the banks came clean."
O'Dell has now received an email from an ATB assistant branch manager saying the bank is reimbursing her the $2,000 because "the contact centre did not follow proper guidelines."
O'Dell said she wants to know how ATB made the mistakes and why she had to go to the media to be exonerated.
"I still want answers," she said.