The following experiences taught me to be more careful about checking my bank account.
As I was checking on the charges made to my checking account and credit card. Because I check my accounts several times a day, I noticed charges in two other states on the bank debit card that were not mine! I reported them and they were removed from my account. Since I bought something that day on the card, the bank knew they were charged by someone besides me. I also had to close my checking account and get a new account number, with new checks and credit/debit cards, just in case.
If that wasn’t enough when the old account was closed, I had to look up every business I paid through my bank. That means name, phone number, address, and account number so I could pay online from my bank! I divided them up and tackled gathering all of that information over two afternoons.
My life became more complicated when I noticed a draft on my checking account on August 28 for $166.02. Normally this would not be a problem, except the draft was made by a telephone company I had closed my account with about four years earlier before I moved. It also knocked my balance down!!
The bank(?) said that the draft came from my computer’s specific IP address, so I did it! But I persevered. I asked the bank to refile for fraudulent draft because (duh!) computers can be hacked! The bank’s fraud department replied with a report that I had obviously ” benefited from the draft.”(?)
I called the bank’s company fraud specialist. She was very helpful and could see the obvious problems with the drafts. Next she and I talked with the phone company’s fraud investigator. My advocate presented the facts and explained that my business with that company had ended four years earlier! Then I asked how they thought I had benefited from the draft.
They pointed out that the first draft had gone through. I looked on the bank statement and there was a draft dated August 16 for $82.51! Because it went through, they assumed that I had benefited from the draft and refused to reimburse me!! I hadn’t even noticed it!
Thankfully the phone company’s fraud representative noticed that the phone account number written on the draft was not my old phone account number!!
Finally I was vindicated!! The re-imbursement check for $248.53 arrived several days later. So it took over one and a half months to finally resolve this! Boy am I glad it’s all over!!
Another time I joined a local gym to use their equipment. The fee was $15 per month. Great! Because I had learned my lesson I checked each withdrawal or charge carefully. I found out I had been charged the $15 not just once but three times in the same month! I took a copy of the bank statement to the owner and was reimbursed the two overcharges. I have no idea how that happened unless the person taking my application was trying to get some extra cash! I dissolved that membership instantly!
Valuable lessons were learned from these experiences.
1. Verify amounts, business name, account numbers and even dates on all drafts or payments on your checking and credit card accounts at least daily if not twice a day!
2. If you know that something was not your fault, stand your ground politely but firmly. There is nothing wrong with showing a little exasperation but never be rude. Just have all of your information in front of you so you don’t have to go looking for it.
3. Ask for an advocate from your bank to be with you on the phone to help verify what was done wrong and answer any account questions.. Be sure your bank’s representative is fully on board with defending and helping you. That is their responsibility! (Besides they let a draft go through that was not even under my present phone account’s name or number!)
4. Ask for a detailed explanation if a request for reimbursement is refused. Ask the 4 W + H questions: Who, What, Why, Where, When and then How!