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Bank Error Not In Your Favor? Here’s What To Do

Posted By Jim On 10/19/2007 @ 1:28 pm In Banking | 16 Comments

Wasn’t it great whenever you pulled up that yellow Community Chest card in Monopoly that awarded you with $200? In real life, that almost never happens and usually, in the event of an error, it’s always not in your favor. So what do you do? In most cases, you want to call your bank and make sure you have all the pertinent information so that they can resolve it as quickly as possible. In some cases, you’ll want to contact other agencies because fraud could be involved.

ATM Withdrawal or Deposit Discrepancies

First tip: Never deposit cash via an ATM. I never deposit cash in an ATM because if the envelope is lost, which is rarely is but definitely possible, there is absolutely no proof that I put cash into an envelope. With checks, at the very least you can ask the issuer to put out a stop payment and re-issue the check. In the event of a large check deposit into an ATM, I always take the ATM receipt because it identifies the time and ATM I used (the amount deposited is useless from the bank’s perspective because you entered it).

On withdrawals, if you request $100 and get only $20, your account will still be debited $100 unless you contact the bank. They can usually resolve the register and figure out where the mistake was and properly debit your account.

Automatic Debits You Didn’t Authorize



With the advent of Check 21 and the fact that banks don’t even need to send the paper checks around anymore, more and more check transactions are merely automatic debits and credits after some paper processing. At many banks, they just scan the front and back of the check and then process the electronic information, shredding the checks afterwards. As we all know, the OCR (optical character recognition) is pretty good but not 100% accurate, so what happens if there is a mis-read? This is the same procedure you should follow if you’ve fallen victim to an automatic debit scam [3], call your bank and notify them of the mistake. Usually they can trace back into their records, locate the check, and fix the error without incident. If you’ve been scammed, in addition to calling your bank, call your state’s attorney general as they will investigate and go after the scammer.


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[3] automatic debit scam: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/tmarkg/debit.shtm

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