Fraud alert turns into frustration for Bank of America customer

PACIFICA, Calif. (KGO) -- Fraud alerts issued by banks are supposed to protect you, yet they turned into a source of frustration for a Pacifica woman.

Noelyn Kljavin works in the fast paced world of biotech. To keep up often she has to be quick on her feet.

But one thing she has never mastered is being in two places at one time.

She recalls being in downtown San Francisco one day when her phone buzzed.

"I got a fraud alert on my phone," said Kljavin. "So I called the bank and they said there was some potential fraud activity happening."

She went home and looked up her account online. She saw $3,700 worth of unauthorized activity in Southern California.

"I was in San Francisco using my debit card. This was happening in West Hollywood. That's what triggered the fraud alert," she told 7 On Your Side.

Someone withdrew $700 dollars from various ATMs in Southern California. There were also three withdrawals totaling $2,950 made inside two different bank branches over three consecutive days.

Kljavin immediately blocked her card and initiated a fraud claim.

The bank reversed the ATM charges within 24 hours. But the check fraud department refused to do the same for the other charges.

Kljavin appealed. After more than two months, the bank again ruled against her.

She could appeal again if she could prove her whereabouts. "Prove that I was not in Southern California. Prove that I didn't travel back and forth to Southern California. Prove that I didn't give my card to my husband and send him to Southern California," she said.

That seemed unfair to Kljavin.

"They basically put the burden of proof on me to prove I didn't commit the fraud. I turned into the criminal somewhere along the line and I'm not sure how that happened," she said.

Instead of appealing a second time, she contacted 7 On Your Side. And we notified Bank of America.

B of A reversed its decision within 24 hours. The bank told us "additional video surveillance revealed proof that the person making the withdrawals was someone other than our customer."

"I really believe without you guys, this might not be where it is now," said Kljavin. "I'd still probably be fighting this bank."

B of A says it denied the original claim because the thief used the customer's debit card and PIN. It now believes the thieves skimmed the card and cloned it.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

Copyright © 2019 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.