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Protect Your Checking Account

Dec 21, 2007
Some may believe that losing money from a personal checking account mainly takes place through online transactions. The truth is there are several ways that scam artists can get money out of your account if you are not careful.

Two important pieces of information that you should never give out about your checking account unless you know for certain who you are dealing with are the account number and the bank routing number.

Having both of these numbers makes it far easier for scam artists to get funds out of your checking account. A good rule of thumb is to never give out this information unless you know the company asking for it or unless you were the one to initiate the transaction.

The above is true for internet transactions but it is also true for telephone transactions. Many of today's criminals are finding it more profitable to do their business over the phone. These calls, when they come, sound very authentic and persuasive. Do not fall for that. If they ask you for your checking account information, do not give it to them. If you do, they may create what is known as a demand draft which they can use to take funds out of your account. They may also use the information to make an electronic funds transfer, which also results in you losing your money.

The second most important thing to do to protect your checking account from unauthorized use is to review your statement as soon as you get it in the mail, or if you have online banking, every few days or so. All transactions, whether they are authorized or not, will eventually show up on your statement. Keeping close tabs on your statement will not only alert you when something is amiss but it will also keep you from bouncing checks in many cases.

If you discover a problem it is important to contact the bank as quickly as possible. If you believe that someone has gained access to your account, tell the bank and follow their instructions. In some cases, you may need to put a hold on the account. Some banks may want a written statement as to what happened. If this is the case, make sure you get that to them. You will also want to keep copies of all documents that you and the bank exchange as the problem is worked out. In cases of fraud, it is also a good idea to contact your local police or the state attorney general.

Sometimes it is not criminals who get us into trouble with out checking accounts but rather ourselves. You may not be aware of it, but checks are being processed faster today than ever before.

Many places that take checks will convert your written check to an electronic payment, which allows the money to be withdrawn from your account sooner. Needless to say, if you do not have enough funds in your checking account when you write a check or authorize a debit, you could end up with an overdraft and have to pay the fees for that.
About the Author
Peter Kenny is a writer for The Thrifty Scot, please visit us at Debt Consolidation Loan and Checking Account Visit Thrifty Scot
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