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Cyber criminals target local bank customers and wipe out savings
Logan Hill, 14, was devastated to recently find his savings account wiped out - $1,400 of his hard earned money collected from delivering the North Shore News.
He was one of more than 140 Coast Capital Savings customers whose accounts were breached after attacks by cyber thieves.
"They said that someone called in to have a withdrawal done," Hill said. "I don't know how they did it. I don't understand how they could have gotten it."
Somehow, someone gained access to his account in the middle of December and for more than four weeks he and his mom Susi, who is the joint account holder, fought to get the money back.
“It's his life savings. He's a kid right. Fourteen hundred dollars is huge to a 14-year-old boy," she said.
And she says was very frustrated by how long Coast Capital Savings was taking to get to the bottom of it.
“That you don't just get trusted that you didn't do it and assured that you're going to get your money back," she added.
CTV News reached out to Coast Capital to find out what was going on.
“We have a real responsibility to fully investigate each of those to make sure we identify what happened and sometimes that can take us a little longer than we would like,” explained spokesman Dave Cunningham.
Cunningham said the cyberattacks occurred in late 2018 and targeted customers through phishing emails and a brute force attack – where cyber thieves run a password program to gain access. He also suggested some customers may have fallen victim to phone calls trying to trick them out of information to gain access.
Cunningham says the attacks focused on individual accounts and that Coast Capital Savings systems were not breached.
However, he says after cyberattacks they assess how they can better their protect customers. Some banks require two-factor authentication to log in, others also require customers to click and identify various images before in order to determine you’re a real person trying to gain access and not bot.
It took more than four weeks but Coast Capital Savings finally completed its investigation into Logan’s account and says it will return the money.
He and his mom still don’t understand how the account was accessed and say they have since changed the PIN and password on the account.
"Your money's not safe necessarily, even if you don't do the bad things they tell you not to do," Susi said.
"I think we're definitely a lot more vulnerable," Logan added.
Coast Capital Savings says it offered affected customers interest free loans to help them get by until the investigation was completed.