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My daughter just discovered yesterday that a wire transfer of $12K had been made to her checking acct. at Chase. It said it came from a Wells Fargo in NY in the name of some name she didn't recognize. She called Chase and was told there was nothing they could do until it posted the next day. I'm afraid that this unknown party is now going to make a withdrawal of their $12K along with whatever money she has in there. Chase tells her she'll be reimbursed if that happens, which could take some time. Are there any steps she could be taking while Chase is "researching" this wire transfer?? Is this a new scam?? Should she withdraw all her funds and hang on to the cash?

Thoughts?

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What did the bank's fraud department answer? What did your local police recommend you do? –  atk Aug 23 '13 at 0:26

2 Answers 2

It sounds like her account is being used as an unwitting money mule. In this case, it's likely her account has been compromised and you should check your computers for infection and change the password from a computer that is safe in order to avoid further problems.

If the money clears, speak to your bank, do not withdraw it as it may lead to legal consequences depending on jurisdiction.

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The only odd thing about it possibly being a money mule is that it is over $10k. Normally mule transfers to or from the US are made in the order of less than $10k since that is the reporting limit over which the transaction is reported to the feds. My brother has stories about working Wells Fargo at the local grocery store and having $9,999 transactions fairly regularly. –  AJ Henderson Aug 23 '13 at 13:43

(rather than keep on saying "your daughter", I'll just refer to her in the second person below....)

The most likely cause is that the money has been sent to your account by accident (this happens much more often than banks like to admit). If this is the case, then in most jurisdictions (you may want to check further) the money is technically yours. However if the bank know that this was not intended for you then they usually transfer the money out again and claim that it was only a data processing and the money was never really in your account in the first place. And at this point the money is technically 'theirs' and from here anyone with a further claim on it better have good proof that it does not belong to the bank.

As D3C4FF says, it is also posible that her account has been compromised. You should take steps to ensure the account is secure - changing passwords for online services and notifying the bank. In this case you are already 'associated' with the money laundering, but there is a risk that they may plunder your money as well. I wouldn't worry too much about waking up with a horse's head in your bed for this amount of money.

If it were me (and I'm in the UK which has a different banking and legal system) I would transfer the money into a different account at the earliest opportunity, notify the bank and the police that it had arrived unexpectedly. It's then up to the bank to prove that that it's not your money. Give them, say 3 months, then treat yourself!

(but as I said earlier do not spend the money until you've had a chance to verify what laws apply in your jurisdiction)

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