AUSTIN, Texas - An Austin man is fighting to get thousands of dollars reimbursed after he believes he was drugged and robbed.
"I was out with a group of friends in Downtown Austin. We had been at a couple of bars," said Steve, who didn’t want to be further identified. "We were in no way to the point of blackout drinking."
They ended the night at Estelle’s, a cocktail bar off of 4th St.
He said one of the last memories he has is FaceTiming his cousin to let him know that he was getting into an Uber.
"Then I woke up the next morning in my bed," he said.
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Steve also woke up to a gut-punch discovery. His phone along with credit and debit cards were missing. Then, he checked his bank statements.
"There were 10 to 12 different charges at three different Walmarts near Katy, Texas, that accumulated to about $10,000, a series of $3 charges with $900-plus cash back withdrawals," said Steve. "In addition to that, I saw there was a Zelle payment for $1,000. There was a 7-Eleven charge and there were two separate $1,000 withdrawals from my ATM by this criminal."
Ever since, Steve has been in communication with Austin police and many others.
"It's been exhausting," he said. "I've spent over 100 hours in my personal time trying to find the right entity that's willing to have my back."
In February 2022, FOX 7 spoke with a man who shared a similar story. He said he woke up with no memory of the night prior and thousands missing from his bank account after a night out on West Sixth St.
In October 2022, police announced the arrest of two women for posing as rideshare drivers in February and robbing victims downtown of thousands of dollars.
In the police report for Steve’s case, the detective noted, "A common criminal tactic used in the Historic Downtown Austin area includes picking up intoxicated patrons and pretending to be their Uber/Lyft drivers. The patrons will then either be robbed or driven around Austin with the express intent of getting as much money, compensation, or items from the patron as possible."
When FOX 7 spoke with Steve, he had just received a letter from Chase denying his third fraud claim.
"We're sorry to learn about the incident you describe," the letter stated. "We reviewed your claims totaling $12,877.48 filed on August 7. We confirm that the claims were denied because your PIN was used with no invalid attempts made when the ATM transactions were completed or after the card was reported lost. Further, inconsistent information was provided to us when you reported the activity as fraud. Additionally, your device was used prior and during the processing of these transactions."
"I feel pretty helpless. I'm hoping this message gets out to the public, at least to let them know that there is activity like this happening," said Steve. "Anyone is really eligible to be a victim of this crime."
FOX 7 reached out to Chase and a spokesperson said via email, "We have reviewed (Steve's) claim and confirmed our decision to deny the claim because the customer’s PIN was used with no invalid attempts when the ATM transactions were completed.
The spokesperson noted that "clients can sign up for free account alerts on chase.com."
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