Written by Steve Mosco, firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, 03 April 2014 09:28
A recent security breach at a Plainview branch of TD Bank has compromised the accounts of at least a half dozen residents of Plainview, Old Bethpage and nearby towns, with the looming threat that more victims are out there and don’t even know it yet, the Plainview-Old Bethpage Herald has learned.
Joe Nappi, a resident of Old Bethpage, has been a customer with TD Bank for a number of years. He is one of those countless customers that enjoys the convenience of 24-hour banking, but he is also one of those unfortunate individuals whose bank account was drained by an unknown assailant.
During a routine look at his bank balance, Nappi noticed that his entire paycheck was missing. After speaking to TD Bank, Nappi learned four withdrawals over a two-day period totaling more than $1,900 had been made from his account. Besides the obvious anger that comes with being robbed, Nappi was furious that TD Bank did not find these withdrawals suspicious enough warrant a phone call.
“TD resolved my issue quickly and professionally after I reached out to them on twitter. I am happy that they did so, but I wasn’t satisfied with the lack of notification regarding my account being compromised in the first place,” he said. “I’m not convinced TD has taken measures to stay ahead of hackers and scammers.” At least three Plainview firefighters have told the Herald of similar losses.
Even more disturbing to Nappi was what he learned after filing a police report. He said Nassau County police told him they believe a skimming device was placed on the Plainview TD Bank’s ATM. The police department would not officially confirm Nappi’s allegation, as the incident is still under investigation, but officials at TD Bank acknowledged that it is “working with law enforcement to investigate a ‘skimming’ incident involving an illegally installed device at an ATM machine at TD Bank’s store in Plainview.”
Nappi says that if the bank became aware a skimming device was, or even may have been, planted, it should have immediately alerted customers and issued new debit cards to potential victims.
Gabe Weissman, vice president of public relations for TD Bank, said “TD Bank has reached out to all customers who may have been affected by this incident to answer questions and will work with them directly to address and correct any issues as quickly as possible. The bank has upgraded its ATM technology to help prevent skimming incidents moving forward.”
However, Nappi and others say they never received any sort of notification from TD Bank on the possible security breach, and he is not the only one charging that TD Bank has not revealed the incident to customers. Three members of the Plainview Fire Department also reported similar incidents; they had funds suspiciously drained from their bank accounts, but never received any sort of communication from TD Bank.
Plainview firefighters James Cataldo and Danny Golden reported similar incidents. Michael Dahan, a firefighter in Plainview for about seven years, had more than $1,500 taken from his account in a two-day period. And as with Nappi, the transaction did not raise any red flags at the bank. He found out about the missing funds at a TD Bank in Melville, who contacted the Plainview branch.
“I thought there were fail-safes in place to prevent this sort of thing,” said Dahan, who also noticed his missing funds during a routine bank visit. “I don’t understand why the bank never even acknowledged this. This is not good business. It is almost as if they are trying to sweep it under the rug. TD Bank owes it to their Plainview customers to send out notice to every individual warning them to keep an eye on funds and maybe get a new debit card.”
Dahan charged that based on the bank’s reaction, they were aware of the security breach.
“It seemed to me like they knew about it, but they wanted to keep it quiet,” he said, adding that he was eventually connected with the bank’s fraud department, who told Dahan to expect to wait seven to 10 days for a resolution. “I should have filed a police report and my advice to everyone is that if this happens, file a report with the cops.”
TD Bank’s Weissman responded that “The bank has upgraded its ATM technology to help prevent skimming incidents moving forward.” To help safeguard against becoming a victim of ATM skimming devices, bank officials offered boilerplate suggestions such as “covering the keypad when entering their PIN at any ATM location to prevent it from being viewed; carefully reviewing bank statements and credit reports for unauthorized activity; and immediately report any suspicious activity to TD Bank at 888-751-900, local law enforcement and to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-382-4357.”
But the complaints levied against TD Bank go beyond Plainview and skimming. A New Hyde Park resident, who chose not to give her name, said she also experienced an alarming lack of security oversight with TD Bank. She said she used an ATM at a convenience store in her neighborhood and 20 minutes later an unknown assailant successfully moved $5,000 from her son’s savings account to her checking account in order to gain access. The transaction was made over the phone — from Italy.
“How could they let that transaction go through?” she asked, adding that the person in Italy who attempted to steal the funds gained access to the account by merely stating the victim’s name, date-of-birth and address. “I’m really not happy with them at all and I’m in the process of finding a new bank.”
No matter the town, residents are not happy with TD Bank’s lack of urgency in security, and mainly in their efforts to stay ahead of high-tech scammers.
Nappi, who used technology to spur a quick response to his situation, said customers need to be vigilant and take financial protection into their own hands.
“My advice is if your money was stolen, go to the bank immediately and file the reports, check your accounts to see if anything else has been compromised, file a police report and stop using your debit card,” he said. “And reach out on social media because it obviously gets a reaction.”