(WHTM) — When was the last time you walked into your bank? Many never do, and that has some Americans turning to online banks, which can be cheaper, but comes with some risks, as well.
Online banks are exploding in popularity these days. They offer lower fees than traditional banks, but they come with some downsides, one of which is they are a popular target for scammers.
Sonya Houston is a work-from-home agent who wanted to build her credit, so she signed up with Chime, a financial tech company that works like a bank.
“I heard it was for credit building without having to get a credit card,” she said. Houston said it was great until she got a call from a man named Adam who claimed he was with Chime and found possible fraud in her account.
Adam was a scammer, and before she knew it, he transferred hundreds of dollars out of her account. Her whole paycheck…gone!
“I had $1,395 taken out of my account, transferred to an email address I don’t even know about,” Houston said.
Chime is a legitimate company, and many people are happy with its app. But it may not offer all the services and features you’d expect from a local bank.
- Chime has lower fees than traditional banks;
- Your money is FDIC insured through its partner banks;
- It has no local branches;
- And it offers no loans or joint accounts.
It also has over 7,000 Better Business Bureau complaints, many claiming scammers drained their funds. A Chime spokesperson said, “We take these matters very seriously. Based on our findings, however, we stand by our original decision,” and will not reimburse Houston for her lost funds.
Chime now warns on its website about impersonators who may target you and says to be suspicious of any text, call, or email claiming to be from Chime. Online banks can be safe, but you need to be especially on guard for scammers so you don’t waste your money.