App hack drained 17K from Maryland youth rugby bank account, team says

A Maryland youth rugby team is fighting for new funds after they say $17,000 was stolen from their bank account last fall.

The team’s season starts soon, and they’re still trying to recoup the stolen money.

One of the team’s board members used a popular payment app that was connected to the Maryland Exiles Rugby Club account at a local bank. The club believes that the account was hacked. One day last September, the team got an overdraft notification from the bank. When they went to look at the account, they realized nearly 60 separate times over the course of a few days, money was taken out, mostly in $300 increments, until all the money was gone.

They didn’t get a notification about the withdrawals as it was happening, only an overdraft notice from the bank through the mail.

Since then, the club has relied on outside donations, including from alumni, to try and get back on its feet. The team hopes to go to tournaments and lend financial help to some players who want to play for the club.

Club administrator Tom Smith says this has been frustrating.

"Folks in Olney, Montgomery County, Howard County, small donations have helped us allow the season to go on, but without a doubt, it’s been really tough, but trying to use that tough situation to bring the team and community a little bit closer together," Smith said. 

The club serves boys and girls ages 5 through 18. Through small donations, the team has recouped just under 10 percent of the money it lost. They’re continuing to work to raise money as their spring and summer seasons kick into gear. They’re asking the community to help support the team in their upcoming seasons by donating to this PayPal fundraiser. 

Smith says the bank told him the app is responsible and vice versa. We know the team filed a report with Montgomery County Police.

The team says the bank was helpful in dropping the overdraft penalty, but indicated the bank and app are saying the other is responsible for the $17,000.

Both the bank and app tell FOX 5 they cannot comment on specific cases.

In a statement, the bank says they’ve seen an increase in instances of fraud on connected third-party apps that are outside the bank’s control, adding that "Fraudsters are continuously changing how they defraud the public, so we work diligently to adjust our processes and help our clients combat this crime."

The bank adds they take these instances very seriously and investigate them.

The app tells FOX 5 they’ve added several security measures that have been in place for a while to ensure customers know whenever there may be a new device logging in and has settings that require additional verification before any transactions can occur. 

Both the app and bank encourage turning on notifications and working to protect yourself from frauds and scams.