OCEANSIDE, Calif. -- A bank transfer scam left a huge hole in a California couple's life savings.
In February, Marc Beardsley, of Oceanside, was tricked into wiring $68,000 of his own money overseas after a large sum of money appeared in his Wells Fargo checking account.
"$70,000 is what they were talking about, but then they said, 'Well, we'll just have you send us back $68,000. You can keep the $2,000 for your trouble,'" he recalled.
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Beardsley said the scammer had gained access to his account and transferred money from his savings account into his checking.
Marc's wife, Rosilyn Nesler, said the con artist then called and pressured Beardsley into transferring the money back to him because it had mistakenly been placed in the couple's account.
"He was worried," said Nesler. "He did not check the savings account to see that it was actually our money ... $70,000 was our money."
The couple's son, Tod Beardsley, is upset Wells Fargo allowed a wire transfer for such a large amount of money without cross-checking what it was for.
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"Anytime you can inject a pause into that process, your chances of not getting scammed go way, way up," he said.
The son now wants to see safeguards in place and better training for bank employees.
"For the frontline bankers working in the branches when you see a customer come in and they're doing something that they have never done before ... like that is wire money overseas to a Hong Kong bank, for example, maybe ask a question about it," Tod said. "Put up just the barest of roadblocks."
Beardsley and Nesler said they are not confident on if they will ever get their money back. However, they hope they will be able to help others by sharing their story.
Meanwhile, a Wells Fargo spokesperson sent our sister station, ABC7 Eyewitness News Los Angeles, the following statement:
"Scams are an industry-wide concern, and we never want to see anyone become a victim. We take financial exploitation very seriously, and we are actively working to help prevent these heartbreaking incidents through various resources, including ongoing education efforts. We conducted a comprehensive investigation of this case, and shared the findings with our customer. After a thorough review, we confirmed this matter was handled appropriately by our team."
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Wells Fargo offered the following Elder Financial Abuse Prevention Tips to help prevent elder financial abuse and exploitation:
Talk - Don't wait for a crisis to address financial topics with loved ones. Hold a family meeting to talk through plans. Respect the desire for elderly individuals to remain in control of their finances for as long as possible.
Engage - Connect frequently with family. Isolation is often a contributing factor to elder financial abuse. Familiarity, regular contact, and conversations will allow you to understand and speak up if something seems amiss.
Advocate - Make sure to talk about the latest scams with family and friends.