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Identity Theft Scam Leaves Victim And Banks Baffled; 'I Hope That We Can Get To The Bottom Of It'

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Scammers stole thousands of dollars from a Joliet woman, and tricked her bank into thinking the money was theirs.

CBS 2 Morning Insider Tim McNicholas dug into the puzzling case of identity theft.

Four checks totaling nearly $4,000 were written out to Jowanda Bradley, but she's never heard of Edward Sawyer, whose name is on the checks.

"I've never met him before in my life," she said.

The address listed for Sawyer on the checks is in Clearwater, Florida, somewhere Bradley said she's never been.

The signature on the back of the checks isn't Bradley's, yet somehow someone cashed those checks, dated Feb. 10 and Feb. 11, at a Bank of America branch.

Those checks eventually bounced, and Bank of America sent a letter saying the money was coming straight from Bradley's account.

"My account was way overdrawn," Bradley said. "I couldn't get any money out, so all my money was just frozen for the week that they investigated it."

They finally refunded her account, but the question remains: how did the scammers convince the banks to give away the money?

Bank tellers are supposed to ask for ID to cash a check or withdraw money.

"I've never lost my ID a day in my life, so I don't know how someone could have retrieved my identification," Bradley said.

One possible scenario is the scammers made a fake ID with Bradley's information. They could have stolen a bank statement, or a sensitive document from her mail to get the info.

"I hope that we can get to the bottom of it, so that I can have peace of mind," Bradley said.

She filed a report with the Joliet Police Department, but she said Bank of America hasn't told her where it happened.

"She says that, again, the detective will be able to get all that information," Bradley said.

Why can't they just give it to her?

"It's my money. It's my account. I don't know," she said.

The checks are obviously fake, because "Florida Healthcare Credit Union" is the bank listed on the check, but the routing number traces back to a different bank.

Bradley wrote a letter Bank of America's CEO asking for an explanation, with one more request: "Please give me the same courtesy you would want if it were your money."

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