Local Chase Customer Says Money Transfer Sent to Complete Stranger

A Grand Prairie woman told NBC 5 Responds she tried to send $700 to her son, but it ended up in a stranger's bank account.

The distance isn't easy for Cindy Sikorski. She thinks about her grandson, Cullen, every day.

"You have a part of you that you never knew you were missing when you have a grandchild. It's just, they're wonderful," she explained.

Sikorski said she'd do anything for Cullen and her son. 

"He's a single dad," she said. "He's actually done really well in doing what he can. But there are times it is hard to stretch what he has."

The Afghanistan war veteran hates to ask his mom for money, but when he does, she always comes through.

"He and I both have accounts with Chase. Several years ago, I set up a QuickPay account with Chase," she said.

But last year, Chase introduced Zelle, a third party network that allows chase customers to send and receive money in minutes with about 86 million customers. Bank of America, Wells Fago, Citi and several other banks also use Zelle.

This past November, Sikorski tried to send her son $700, but it didn't go through.

"I looked and couldn't figure out why," she said. "It went somewhere." 

She visited her local branch and learned her son's old phone number was still listed on her account. Instead of using his email address like she normally does, she had accidentally selected that old phone number to send the money.

"I talked to Zelle, who told me they don't have any control of it. They are just the middleman," she said. 

When she talked to Chase, she said she was told the money went to whomever currently has that phone number, and there was nothing they could do.

She said the money went to a Bank of America customer, and when she checked her account, the transfer was accepted.

Sikorski tried calling that old number, left a voice mail and even sent a text begging the person to send the money back but she never got a response.

"I'm a retired teacher so $700 is a whole lot to me," she said.

The NBC 5 Responds team got on the case. We reached out to JP Morgan Chase and received this response:

"Before sending money, consumers should always verify that they've used the correct contact information for the intended recipient to prevent the payment from going to the wrong person."

But given the circumstances with a family member who served overseas, Chase agreed to refund Sikorski, putting the $700 back into her account.

Sikorski said little Cullen will soon be getting something extra special from his grandma, and she'll be sure to triple check before she clicks send.

Before we reached out to Chase, we called that old number and someone answered. He said he didn't recall getting the calls, messages or voice mails and didn't recall seeing the $700 in his account.

Let this be a reminder when you're transferring money:

• Always check to make sure you're using the correct email address or phone number.
• Make sure your all of the information on your account is updated.
• If you ever do send to the wrong person, call the bank immediately to find out your options.

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