WABC-TV: On Your Side: Epic frustration after wire transfer worth $632,000 vanishes
NEW YORK (WABC) -- The New York Senate passed legislation Thursday to protect people from wire fraud, that calls for banks and wire services to warn customers before transferring money.
7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda warns wire fraud is a problem that happens more often thank you might think-- and it can be costly.
Victoria Batiste, a retired NYPD police officer, wishes she still had her badge to investigate where more than half a million owed to her is parked.
The money is the proceeds from the sale of her family's Bushwick townhouse: $632,505.71 to be exact, which was wired after the closing.
"The money was wired over by my closing attorney to my business account," Batiste said. "I know a wire takes one to two business days, it's been a week now."
She received a message on her bank's secure message center that the wire transfer was "under review."
Batiste said she was scared it was gone.
Seven days later she got another message, but still no funds. And the status no longer even said it was under review.
She started to panic, she needed that money to buy a new property for her family.
Her father Ben has health issues. They survived a fire in their Bushwick home and Batiste made the tough decision to part with the property that is full of family memories.
Now that her money is held up, she can't show proof of funds to purchase another place.
The banks are actually holding up wire transfers to protect customers from rampant wire transfer fraud.
"We're talking about millions of millions of dollars scammed from people on a regular basis," said New York Deputy Senate Leader Michael Gianaris.
That's why the New York Senate approved legislation mandating a warning to pop up before a wire transfer or sending money using a cash app.
"It would provide to people not to send their money if they're solicited for some of the more common scams," Gianaris said.
It's a step in the right direction, but for bank customers who are not fraud victims, the delays can cause problems.
Batiste said a Hail Mary to get her money.
"The only thing I could do because I felt helpless is pray and after praying I heard a voice and the voice said 7 On Your Side, and I was like thank you Jesus," Batiste said.
So we got in touch with her businesses bank account holder and within a few days she had her money.
All $632,505.71 was in the bank.
"The money's there, and I was like to God be the glory, thank you Nina and your team," Batiste said.
The big takeaway is if you have a large transaction, go to your branch manager at your local bank and let them know what's happening.
Don't deposit a large check on a mobile app or at an ATM, and remember, any big amounts going in or out it could freeze your account for weeks, even months.