Posts Tagged ‘bank statement’

According to The Guardian, in October 2012, Donaldson (not her real name) to her horror discovered that over the course of two years, each time she had transferred her monthly paycheck of $1,500 from her HSBC account to the joint one she shares with her husband at Nationwide building society, she had accidentally been placing the money in a total stranger’s account. After two years, the amount she had transferred was roughly $40,000.

Banks move with times and it was paperless statements and it made the bank’s work a lot easier. Unfortunately the customers who didn’t move with the times or failed in safeguarding hard earned savings were in for shock as in the case of Donaldson. In 2010, she checked that her wages were leaving her business account held with HSBC at the end of every month. To her utter dismay she had left one digit out in the bill payment scheme set up with HSBC.’ As a result the money has been going to another Nationwide account holder for the past two years, amounting to £26,650!”

It may be difficult for Donaldson to get her money back. According to The Guardian, the recipient refuses to return the money and the bank cannot reveal his or her identity due to data protection rules. What’s more, British law dictates that when money goes into the wrong hands, it can be withdrawn without gaining permission first for up to six years after it’s wrongfully transferred. But in Donaldson’s case, the recipient had withdrawn the money through ATMs so there is nothing they can do.

“People have become so dependent on technology that they’ve developed a blind trust in computers,” says Manisha Thakor, CEO of MoneyZen Wealth Management. “But technology isn’t perfect; when you consider the sheer volume of transfers that banks make every day, it’s actually very easy for an error to occur. People have a personal responsibility to take ownership of their finances.”

Here are some simple steps to protect yourself.

Communicate: It seems unlikely that Donaldson, who was supporting herself on a hairdresser’s salary, could overlook the fact she ought to have checked with her partner if the funds were in. Many couples don’t communicate enough about finances.

Read in reverse: When you’re double checking the number you typed in, read it again but this time backwards. “By reading from the last number to the first, you’ll avoid scanning on autopilot,” says Thakor. “This process forces your brain to stay alert while you read so you’re more likely to catch typos.”

Keep a Paper trail: “Even if the bank made the mistake, you’d have no proof of innocence if you don’t have it on paper.” If you don’t want to opt for mailed statements, take a screen shot of what you typed in and print it out for your files.(ack: Elise Solé,Shine /Financially Fit of Feb11,’13)

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