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JeanDavid wrote A friend lost her life savings and may lose her house because of identy theft. My friend knows who did it, and reported the thief to the police. The police talked to the thief and he said my friend gave him the money. My friend did not give him the money, nor did she pay gift tax on it (almost $250,000).

I would very much like some details - I read stories like this frequently. I question the implications of these based largely on the assumption the victims funds were in a financial institution as opposed to the cookie jar.

Reg-E makes the financial institution is responsible for funds fraudulently taken if electronic information was involved - which I understand would include internet and ATM type methods. If somebody shows up at a bank, banking regulations require some diligence on the part of the bank.
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