Hundreds in Sandhills area victims of fraudulent bank accounts ::

— The Moore County Sheriff’s Office estimates that more than 1,000 people in the Sandhills area had their identities stolen after fake TD bank accounts were opened in their names.

There was standing room only at the Aberdeen Leisure Center on Friday. Hundreds of people from different cities, with different occupations or plans, all with the same problem: their information was stolen and used to open bank accounts with TD Bank.

The nearest TD bank is 100 miles away in South Carolina. So when countless Sandhills area residents received emails about the accounts, they were shocked and they want answers.

Ann Fisher received hers earlier this month.

“There was no letter with him, there were just checks and of course I thought that was weird because I had never applied for a checking account,” Fisher said. “There was your name and your address.”

Fisher was one of more than 1,000 people, according to estimates by the Moore County Sheriff’s Office, to whom it happened to them.

Many victims, like Fisher, were exasperated at Friday’s meeting.

The FBI, law enforcement and state lawmakers, including state Sen. Thomas McInnis, who represents the area, were on hand to answer questions.

“We believe an organization was hacked, the addresses and all the information went to the dark web,” McInnis explained. “Another organization picked it up or bought it and started opening these accounts.”

TD Bank told victims like Bill Scott that it had closed its account.

“What I’ve actually done is get my own credit monitoring at this point because I’m worried,” Scott said.

No one has lost any money so far, but some accounts have overdraft fees associated with them.

“It has a very, very high potential to hurt his credit rating. We can’t let our people suffer and have a damaged credit rating because of some stupid hack that happens in a bank or something. another like that” says McInnis

“TD takes seriously its responsibility to help protect consumers’ personal information. We follow industry best practices designed to detect and help prevent fraud. Residents of North Carolina,” TD Bank said in a statement Friday.

If you believe you have been a victim of this scam, call this designated TD Bank hotline at 877-836-6688 and file a police report. The FBI called it widespread fraud and said multiple people and groups were likely responsible.

McInnis told WRAL News that TD Bank promised all of its victims a year of credit protection. So if you receive a letter, you will also receive a letter in the post explaining how to establish this.

Shawanda H. Saldana