$1,000 disappears from aging woman's bank through Zelle

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Like many of us, Cynthia Jones worried someone could take advantage of her aging mom, so she helps her mom keep track of her finances just to make sure nothing is wrong.

It's not because she doesn't love or trust her mom anymore, she told ABC13, "It was because I don't love and trust other people."

She recently noticed charges on her mom's bank statement totaling more than $1,000. It just didn't make sense.

There was "no company name, no address, no phone number, just a name," Jones said.

The only notation on the statement was 'Adam.'

After some research she and Chase Bank realized the money had been transferred on Zelle, an online cash transfer tool Chase customers can access.

Cynthia told ABC13's Ted Oberg her 78-year-old mother doesn't use online cash transfers. Cynthia figured someone had accessed her mom's account.

At first, Chase gave the money back, but then decided against it.

"It was disappointing because they would trust some cyber random, you know, thieves other than a customer of over 30 years," Jones said.

Frustrated, Jones turned to Ted. "Had you not gotten involved, we would have never seen these $1,050 again."

The day after we contacted Chase, the bank sent Ms. Jones a letter "responding to your complaint ... to ABC."

"Thank you for sharing your concerns," they wrote her, adding they "reconsidered and approved the claim and credited your account $1,094."

"I think that you have some pretty powerful influences," Jones told ABC13 after the money was restored.

A Chase spokesperson told ABC13, "Chase customers have the option to un-enroll from Quickpay with Zelle," adding it can be done in the Chase app, the website or "they can also completely opt-out by calling us."

Chase also suggested we reach out to a specific charity for tips on protecting loved one's assets. That charity doesn't have those tips available.

We found some advice from the AARP and N4A (National Association of Area Agencies on Aging).

The tips include:
  • Sign aging loved ones up for the Do Not Call registering to avoid telemarketers
  • Make sure your aging loved ones don't share any personal information with anyone
  • Encourage aging loved ones to get a second opinion before signing any documents
  • Consult experts on signing up for Powers of Attorney before aging loved ones have memory issues

You can learn more on the AARP and Association of Agencies on Aging websites.

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