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Chinese New Yorkers Say Chase Bank Isn’t Doing Enough to Prevent Fraud

This summary about fraud at Chase Bank lwas featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.

New York City’s Chinese community has been trying to hold Chase Bank — the largest bank in the U.S. — accountable for identity theft and fraud. 

Our Chinese Community Correspondent, April Xu, writes in today’s story that dozens of Chinese customers have reported their money was stolen from their bank accounts through fraudulent transactions, and say the bank didn’t provide them with the protection they needed. 

The story of Jack Zhang, 31, stands out: He lost $100,000 from his bank account. That money was taken without his permission, and it was done in four withdrawals of $25,000 across different Chase locations over four days. Zhang runs an after-school program in Queens and says the stolen money included funds for a disaster loan to help small businesses affected by the pandemic. Another victim of stolen money, Hua Li, reported $60,000 stolen from her account. 

Flushing Neighborhood Watch Team, which assists many Chinese-speaking immigrants, estimates that 141 members of their WeChat group for bank complainants have been victims of identity theft.

Difficulty navigating the claim process: Wen Chang’s story has inspired more Chinese customers to speak up. He was the first Chinese identity theft victim the FNWT helped to recover money for. At the start of this year, an unknown person impersonated Chang and stole $36,000 from his checking account without his permission. The person achieved this by applying for a new bank card under his name. 

An English language barrier made it difficult for Chang to put together claim materials, but a friend helped him, and eventually he sent documentation to Chase reporting the fraud. But the bank’s response came as a shock: he was told he authorized the transactions. 

$36,000 recovered from Chase last month: Chang went to the police three times to file a report — all failed attempts because he did not have supporting documents from the bank. The Flushing Neighborhood Watch Team eventually helped, as our reporter details in today’s story.

​​The story highlights the prevalence of identity theft crimes in New York City, the loopholes in the financial security system, and insufficient support from big banks for clients, especially immigrants with language barriers and difficulty navigating the claim process.

Read the full report exclusively on Documented

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