California man records call with Bank of America as he learns bank closed his account without notice

Michael Finney Image
Saturday, January 23, 2021
Man records call with BofA, learns bank closed his account
A Victorville man was shocked to learn that Bank of America had closed his EDD account without warning after he reported fraud.

VICTORVILLE, Calif. (KGO) -- Brian Bolik lives in Victorville and has, like so many others, been receiving unemployment benefits. Then he got ripped off.

"I had money taken out of my account from somebody I didn't know," Bolik says. "So I contacted Bank of America because they tell you that you have the fraud protection."

RELATED: Class action lawsuit filed against Bank of America for rampant unemployment fraud

Brian says he called the bank and was told to wait 10 days and his money would be replaced. He waited -- and still no money.

So, he says, after a couple of follow-up telephone calls with Bank of America, he asked to be connected to a supervisor and then recorded the call.

He was shocked to hear his account had been closed with no investigation.

VIDEO: CA unemployment fraud 4 times worse than first reported; $8B paid to criminals

How did California handle its unemployment crisis compared to other states? The amount of unemployment funds stolen from California taxpayers in 2020 may total more than $8 billion -- four times higher than estimated just one month ago.

A Bank of America representative told him: "There was no investigation done because once we received the claim, EDD gets the alert there is a claim going on. They automatically close it, saying there is fraud risk, fraud risk so they don't give us time to actually work the claim."

The Bank of America representative offered multiple times during the call to reopen the claim; still Bolik was frustrated. On the recording, he attempts to clarify what he's hearing.

Bolik: "So EDD makes you guys, and EDD automatically claims denies any claim of fraud without even investigating?"

The representative answers, "Yes, due to its high value."

RELATED: Nearly 1 million Californians may have to pay back some of their unemployment benefits

So is that the official policy?

7 On Your Side reached out to the EDD, and it responded: "... our UI (unemployment insurance) program people are looking into your inquiry. We'll reach back out to you when we have the information we need."

Bank of America would not comment on the recorded conversation, but in an official written response, contradicts what Bolik believes he was told, writing that accounts are not automatically closed when fraud is reported.

"However, accounts may be frozen to protect recipient's funds from more fraud if there are additional signs of fraudulent activity. A new card may be issued at that time," the company said.

Bolik's account was reimbursed, but he still doesn't have access to his money because his identity has not been verified.

That brings us to the important takeaway for everyone having issues with their unemployment insurance payments: When the issue is identity, contact the EDD. When your issue is with a transaction, like a fraudster making a withdrawal, contact Bank of America.

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

Have a question for Michael and the 7 On Your Side team? Fill out the form HERE!

7OYS's consumer hotline is a free consumer mediation service for those in the San Francisco Bay Area. We assist individuals with consumer-related issues; we cannot assist on cases between businesses, or cases involving family law, criminal matters, landlord/tenant disputes, labor issues, or medical issues. Please review our FAQ here. As a part of our process in assisting you, it is necessary that we contact the company / agency you are writing about. If you do not wish us to contact them, please let us know right away, as it will affect our ability to work on your case.

App users: For a better experience, click here to view the full map in a new window