Discover customer gets verified call from her bank. It’s a troublingly precise new scam

@whitneyhouchin90/TikTok ssi77/ShutterStock Kolonko/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘You really can’t trust your money in the bank anymore’: Discover customer gets verified call from her bank. It’s a precise new scam

'This happens more time that you can imagine.'

 

Kahron Spearman

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Posted on Jan 15, 2024   Updated on Jan 15, 2024, 2:23 am CST

The TikTok video by Whitney (@whitneyhouchin90), viewed over 56,000 times, tells a cautionary tale about how she was tricked into losing $10,000 from her Discover bank account. This story highlights how easily sophisticated scams and the shortcomings of current banking security measures can fool someone.

Whitney’s nightmare began with a phone call that looked like it was from her bank, Discover. She says, “I start getting calls from my bank, which is unusual. I go ahead and answer because I don’t know what’s going on.” The person on the call, pretending to be from Discover, asked her to confirm her mother’s maiden name. Things got serious when they told Whitney someone was trying to take money from her account.

She recalls, “It looks like somebody’s trying to take some money out of your account, from an ATM in Georgia. I say, I’m not in Georgia, so go ahead and put a hold on my account.”

The scammers had set up everything perfectly. They made it look like they were calling from Discover’s number and even sent her verification codes that seemed to be from her usual Discover messages. But when Whitney gave these codes back, thinking she was protecting her account, she was helping the scammers access her money.

@whitneyhouchin90 Please SHARE #fraud #discoverbank #sofibank #bankingtiktok #sharethis ♬ original sound – whitneyhouchin90

An hour later, Whitney got an email about a wire transfer she didn’t know about. She realized then that no one from her bank had actually called her. The scammers had hacked into her online banking and used her to get the codes they needed to steal her money. “You really can’t trust your money in the bank,” she said.

In the comments, she stated that she believed it may have been an inside job. Many people expressed their condolences for her lost money and offered advice. One wrote: “You should file a police report and lock your credit – all three. Identity theft.gov is a good site to walk you through this. I’m so sorry.”

“I work in banking dealing with fraud … this happens more time that you can imagine; it” wrote another person. Another gave a vital bit of advice: “I think a new social rule should be: if you EVER get a call from yr bank hang up and call the bank back or go to the bank.”

In another video, Whitney openly criticizes Discover for how the banking giant handled her case. She’s upset that the bank isn’t taking responsibility for the money she lost. She says, “Instead of teaching about hockey, maybe you should do some training with your wire transfer department and your fraud department.”

There were differing opinions in this second video, with some believing Discover could be blamed for her provision of the codes. “I’m confused,” said one commenter. “You gave the hackers the code to approve it. I know it sucks, but what could the employees have done differently?” Whitney believed that a wire transfer should have required more than even her providing codes to her account.

One had an interesting take: “I think there is cause for a lawsuit if the code that’s generated does not say do not share, especially if the phone reps are currently using that to authenticate clients. Other large financial firms do this, and they use voice authentication.”

Whitney was deeply hurt, especially because the stolen money included her children’s savings. “Discover has told me that they are going to do a wire recall to try to get my money back. But if it does not come back, there’s nothing they can do,” she shares. This situation highlights the emotional impact of such scams and questions how much banks are doing to prevent and deal with fraud. 

In December 2022, Discover Financial Services temporarily halted applications for its new checking account featuring cashback and debit options due to significant fraud issues encountered since its launch in April. CEO Roger Hochschild mentioned at a conference that the fraudulent activities led to a pause in marketing and applications. Despite the manageable financial impact, the fraud issues affected service quality, prompting Discover to suspend new applications over the summer. The company quietly reintroduced debit accounts in June 2023 with enhanced fraud prevention measures.

Whitney’s story is important because it warns us about the dangers of banking scams. Her experience points out the need for more caution and better security in banking. She hopes to prevent others from being scammed similarly by sharing her story.

The incident has gotten attention, and the Daily Dot has contacted Discover and Whitney (@whitneyhouchin90) for more comments.

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*First Published: Jan 15, 2024, 6:00 am CST