I've been banking with U.S. Bank for about a year and a half. Around the beginning of January, I noticed some strange activity as it pertained to my U.S. Bank checking account.

I often utilize Zelle to send money back and forth amongst friends, to pay back colleagues, and even to pay things as essential to everyday living like rent.

One evening I noticed that my Zelle temporarily was unavailable. I happened to be completing a few BTC transactions using LocalBitcoin. The next day I received a phone call from a US Bank phone number registered out of Ohio. The U. S. Bank representative leaves an innoculous message stating he wants to clarify some of my recent activity and to call him back.

I phone him back and he begins to ask me about recent activity on my account. He states that there has been an influx of zelle deposits into my account and because I had (one day prior) went into the branch and made a cash withdrawal of $2000 that it appeared suspicious. He said it looked as if "I were cashing out on my account." Without being so much as prodded, I volunteered the fact that the transactions were Zelle payments and that they were from the sale of some BTC that I had owned." I guess I said the magic words that lead to relationship termination and now I find myself in a situation where my funds are being held hostage and I am forced to negotiate with them to try and gain access to them again.

It's now been closing in on 4 weeks that I haven't had access to my own money. They continue to give me the runaround as well. I call in to customer service and they tell me that I'll have to go to my home branch. I speak to my home branch and they say that internal back office is looking into it and they don't know anything else.

And earlier today was the straw that broke the camel's back and made me feel compelled to post.... I called into a local branch (because US Bank telephone customer service had told me that I would need to visit my local branch in order to resolve this issue; they were in fact apparently lying) and explained my situation. The gal was nice enough and she said give her a few minutes to research and she would phone me back with her findings. 10 minutes pass and she calls me back and tells me that the branch manager from my home branch will be giving me an update by days end.

Less than 5 minutes later, I get a call from the Branch Manager. She sounds indignant and talks to me as if I'm a criminal. She says she has researched the account and that there are no plans to release the funds anytime soon. This is after I've been told by the initial contact from the back office that my funds may be held up to 10-15 business days. She says it may take up to 6 months and you may not ever see your funds whatsoever due to involvement in fraud. She stated that the transactions in question were 5 checks. I even asked what checks.....and she proceeded to rattle off the transaction amounts that were in fact the zelle transfers for the btc that I had sold. I corrected her, but she didn't really care. According to the notes on the account and whatever back office told her, I was a criminal.

I have never felt such a feeling for doing nothing wrong. I was utterly in shock and looking back on it now, am not sure why I allowed her to speak to me in that manner. I guess part of me realized that I may in fact have to deal with her again, and better not to make enemies now. Anyways, I had to share. This is absolutely ridiculous. They are holding over 7K and for someone who works for an honest living and attempts to pay his bills on time and be a responsible productive member of society, I'm finding it difficult to stay afloat as they play their games.

  • Today you learned that they really want to make cryptocurrency illegal and they have partially succeeded. Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 12:14
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    I'm not sure what you're looking for here. You gave the answer yourself to the question "When will I receive the funds...?" as "up to 6 months or never". Sounds like you need to talk to a lawyer if you want any chance at doing better than that.
    – glibdud
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 12:45
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    @user253751 I think it would be more accurate to say that fraud is already illegal, and banks are suspicious of transaction mechanisms that are frequently used for fraudulent activity.
    – dwizum
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 14:09
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    When you first contacted the bank ("I received a phone call... leaves a message... I call him back"), did you phone the bank at a known good number -- from the back of your card, from a bank statement, from the bank's actual website -- or did you phone the number that was left in the message?
    – shoover
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 14:14
  • @dwizum They make cryptocurrency effectively illegal by treating it as fraud, even when they cannot prove any fraud took place. There isn't much practical difference between losing access to $2000 for multiple years, and simply having $2000 stolen. Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 14:29

1 Answer 1


Ultimately, financial institutions have responsibility to monitor their accounts and transactions for suspected fraudulent activity. The good news is, this lets them help law enforcement catch criminals, which is arguably good for us all. The bad news is, this sometimes means they suspend legitimate activities because they suspect there is fraud involved. This usually means an internal fraud investigation process is triggered, and if criminal activity is suspected, the institution will involve law enforcement.

However, if there is no criminal activity, the bank must respect that fact that that money is your money. If it seems like that isn't happening, or the bank is dragging their feet, you can certainly escalate this. In the US, banks are regulated by a number of institutions that have mechanisms for filing complaints (the FDIC, FRB, OCC, and/or various state banking authorities - not to mention the NCUA for Credit Unions). It can be confusing to determine who to complain to, but luckily the Federal Government maintains a website that helps you make that decision.

So, if you're not getting a suitable response from your bank (and it sounds like you're not), you should look over those web pages to help decide which third party to involve in resolving your issues.


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