- On April 6, 2021, another class action lawsuit was lodged against Bank of America in California federal court claiming a consumer could not access her unemployment benefits through the bank. Bank of America has since responded, noting that it has added customer service agents to answer phone calls and investigate claims in a statement to reporters.
Bank of America’s handling of unemployment benefits is being challenged by a growing list of plaintiffs in at least two class action lawsuits.
A new filing out of California claims the bank isn’t protecting the unemployment benefit accounts it is in charge of and is failing to make it right for the thousands who’ve been frozen out of their money.
Christoper Mosson is the plaintiff in the latest class action lawsuit filed against Bank of America. He’s arguing negligence and breaches of contract, among other things, after his Bank of America unemployment account was hacked and drained of all its money last year.
The Oakland resident noticed unauthorized charges on his account in December and called Bank of America’s customer service to report the fraudulent charges, according to the complaint.
Bank of America froze the account, leaving Mosson unable to access the remaining funds— eventually returning the entire balance back to California’s unemployment department.
Mosson says Bank of America handouts debit cards to unemployment claimants that don’t have a chip, leaving them exposed to skimming and other methods hackers use to steal private financial data.
This breaches Bank of America’s policy which promises to provide products that are safe to use, Mosson alleges in the complaint.
Furthermore, Mosson points to Bank of America failing to uphold its liability guarantee by leaving him without any money during the ordeal.
Mosson argues he isn’t the only person having to deal with the issue. He quotes Bank of America customer service representatives in the class action lawsuit, who admit to hearing about the issue regularly.
“We’re actually no longer allowed to tell them a timeframe, because we have no clue,” the representative said referring to refunds of stolen money, the complaint contends. “Every day, I talk to 30 people with the same story. I just pray for them after my shift, honestly.”
Mosson further alleges this lack of communication in the complaint. He says many Bank of America unemployment account holders were never notified of the fraud.
Rampant fraud led Bank of America to freeze approximately 350,000 unemployment accounts beginning in October, according to this new class action lawsuit.
The issue was the topic of the state lawmakers in a hearing held Tuesday, ABC 7 News reports.
Mosson is seeking to form a class of members who’ve had or currently have a Bank of America unemployment benefits account.
Formally, the class action lawsuit accuses Bank of America of negligence and breach of contract, in addition to violating the Electric Funds Transfer Act and California’s Consumer Privacy Act.
Just last week, a separate class action lawsuit with similar claims was filed against Bank of America. The named plaintiff in that case reports $400 was stolen from her unemployment benefit account.
Another consumer who says her unemployment benefits were hacked has filed a class action lawsuit against Bank of America. In this class action, filed in California federal court in April, San Diego resident Deaniesha Lawrence claims she and others were left with “pennies” in their accounts after fraudsters made off their unemployment benefits.
This most recently filed class action lawsuit claims that Bank of America used “antiquated” technology for unemployment benefit recipients. It also notes that, even though the bank has removed the freeze it put on accounts with reports of fraud, it has not taken any action to reimburse the stolen funds. Lawernce claims that the bank “made it nearly impossible for those in need of benefits to receive their much-needed aid.”
In response to this latest class action lawsuit, a Bank of America spokesperson told Law360:
“We have added thousands of agents to answer phone calls and investigate claims for the areas of the program we are responsible for and, as a result, our average wait time for callers has dropped dramatically. While the vast majority of unemployment fraud is committed by those filing false applications, when fraudulent transactions occur on benefit cards we review those claims and restore money to legitimate recipients.”
Do you hold an account with Bank of America? Have you ever had issues with your Bank of America unemployment accounts getting hacked? Let us know in the comments below.
Attorneys representing the plaintiffs in this class action lawsuit are P. Terry Anderlini, Joseph M. Goethals, and Jackson D. Morgus of Anderlini & McSweeney LLP.
The Bank of America Unemployment Account Hack Class Action Lawsuit is Mosson, et al. v. Bank Of America, N.A., Case No. 3:21-cv-00743 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
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