Bank fraud is on the rise. When a close friend shares with you their banking problems you begin to realize just how close to home the problem really is. A close friend who takes care of our one hundred old mother checked her bank account on Friday and noticed the balance had dropped. She stopped at one of the bank branches to find out what was going on, and while in the bank the balance dropped to less than two dollars. Alarmed, she showed the statement to the bank teller, who checked the account. “I’m sorry your accounts have been frozen, please take a seat and we will get someone to help you.” Three hours later and several inquires, no one came to her aid.
After Four hours of waiting, she checked her balances again on her cell phone. Two checking accounts and one savings account showed negative balances of over $888,000.00 each! Well over 2.6 million, and still no explanation from the bank. They would only tell her that the manager was busy with other problems and they would call her. As of noon on Saturday still no call. We paid her with cash so she make a family reunion on Sunday with no credit cards or debit card for cash. She is trying to get a lawyer, but with the weekend it will be hard to get any help.
I normally check my accounts once a week, but now it will be a daily habit or at least every other day. Word of advice, avoid using debit cards for purchases. This may have been how the fraud occurred, or someone in the bank decided to take a long vacation.
I also inquired about the possibility of opening an account in order to have checking and ATM card at another bank or even switching banks. A hold on any first time deposit is ten days while they do a check with other banks, and if there is a frozen account they will not open an account for you until the existing account is unfrozen. I currently have accounts at three different banks with small balances in each for flexibility.
With the ability to transfer funds between accounts, it make sense to keep funds for business and hobbies separate from household expenses. One last point, automatic deposits to a problem account become unavailable also, so be sure to stop automatic deposits if the problem occurs. These problems will only get worse as social media grows. A hard fact of life we all will have to live with.