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‘It's just a nightmare’: More and more USAA members who lost thousands of dollars are sharing stories of fraud

‘It's just a nightmare’: More and more USAA members who lost thousands of dollars are sharing stories of fraud
‘It's just a nightmare’: More and more USAA members who lost thousands of dollars are sharing stories of fraud

Curtis Murrah says he’d been a loyal customer with USAA for 28 years — until his wife rang him up one day saying she couldn’t make their mortgage payment because there wasn’t any money in their account.

Murrah, who’s based in Georgia, says he took a closer look at his accounts and discovered someone was making deposits in and out of his accounts.

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“It was like they were playing mind games,” he told News 4 San Antonio. “They would deposit $9,800 then turn right around and withdraw $9,800. They would deposit $4,000, turn right around and withdrew it.”

Murrah contacted USAA and convinced the institution to conduct an investigation — but USAA allegedly told him there was no evidence of fraud, despite a $14,174 loss across two of his accounts, including his emergency savings. Then, the bank unexpectedly closed his account.

“The transactions were taking place in totally different states, they could see everything,” Murrah said. “They knew it wasn’t me, but for some reason they said it wasn’t fraud.”

USAA members say they’ve lost trust in the bank

News 4 San Antonio organized a video call with several USAA members who lost funds due to fraud — and have been left with little to no recourse. Some of them also belong to the Facebook group, USAA Fraud and Victims, which has 2,900 members.

A few USAA members even reported being asked by the institution to cover the negative balances on their accounts after their money was stolen.

“It's just a nightmare that you’d be treated that way and disrespected,” says Tiffany Tienda, another USAA customer who lost about $3,700 to fraud. “It’s emotionally and mentally draining and offensive that they’re so dismissive of the whole situation.”

Murrah says he and his wife found themselves in a tight spot with no savings to rely on and ended up taking out a loan to make ends meet.

Another member and military veteran, Roberto Rangel, says he sold some of his prized possessions to raise money and protect his credit score. Rangel lost thousands of dollars in retirement savings and claims he alerted the institution about suspicious activity in his account even before $9,000 was stolen.

“I just don't have very much trust in them anymore.”

Read more: ‘You didn’t want to risk it’: 80-year-old woman from South Carolina is looking for the safest place for her family’s $250,000 savings. Dave Ramsey responds

USAA has history of complaints, fines, security breaches

According to the Better Business Bureau, there have been 4,119 total complaints against USAA in the last three years.

In April, a federal grand jury in Louisiana indicted 21 people involved with stealing nearly $7 million from USAA customers — particularly the accounts of older individuals with high bank balances.

Three of the defendants worked for a call center that provided customer service for USAA and helped the rest of the group to access customers’ banking details to create counterfeit checks, reports Dayton Daily News.

Last year, the institution also reported a data breach that may have impacted around 19,000 members after employees at a USAA contractor shared their access credentials with unauthorized individuals.

And in 2022, the bank paid a stunning $140 million in civil fines to two federal regulators — the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and the Comptroller of the Currency for falling behind in reporting suspicious transactions.

“As its customer base and revenue grew in recent years, USAA FSB willfully failed to ensure that its compliance program kept pace, resulting in millions of dollars in suspicious transactions flowing through the U.S. financial system without appropriate reporting,” FinCEN acting director Himamauli Das said at the time.

In response to reports of fraudulent activity, a USAA spokesperson told News 4 San Antonio “bank fraud is an unfortunate reality for financial institutions around the world,” and “USAA remains committed to fighting fraud and protecting our members.”

News 4 San Antonio says it got the institution to revisit seven cases and so far, five have been resolved — with Murrah, Tienda and Rangel receiving refunds for the money they had lost.

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This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.