Unauthorized withdrawals from bank account are a common occurrence that can happen for any number of reasons. While it may seem daunting at first, dealing with these types of issues is fairly simple. In our article, we’re going to discuss how to identify these types of transactions. Let’s take a look at 4 steps to deal with them effectively.
General Information about an Unauthorized Withdrawal from Bank Account
Dealing with an unauthorized withdrawal from bank account is never a fun experience. Unfortunately, this type of thing happens to almost everyone at some point in their life. An unauthorized withdrawal can occur any number of ways. The two most common are unauthorized ACH withdrawals and unauthorized debit card usage.
Unauthorized ACH Withdrawals
With unauthorized ACH withdrawals, you will notice a charge on your statement. It usually goes out in the form of a payment for a company. The most common types of charges that fall into this category include payments for utilities, automobile loans, and mortgages. However, ACH withdrawals can also be used to pay for a variety of different types of merchandise as well.
In many cases, unauthorized ACH withdrawals are the result of duplicate payments and other errors from payment processors. However, it is still possible for fraudulent activity to occur with these payment types.
Unauthorized Debit Card Usage
The second type of unauthorized withdrawal from bank account occurs from a compromised debit card. These types of charges can appear as ATM withdrawals that you never made or as purchases that you never completed on your checking account statement.
This type of unauthorized transactions is almost always the result of some form of fraudulent activity. This can occur as the result of many different causes. These can be losing your debit card or falling victim to a card skimmer device. Thankfully, transactions that fall into this category of unauthorized withdrawal from bank account are usually easy to fix.
Next up, find out how to deal with unauthorized withdrawal from bank account. Follow these 4 steps to solve the mystery and protect your finances.
1) Identify the Transaction
The first step to take in dealing with an unauthorized withdrawal from bank account is to identify that suspicious bank activity in question. Look for any purchases and charges that you do not immediately recognize on your account statement. In many cases, it’s entirely possible for the merchant name to differ slightly from the company that you potentially made the payment to.
With this in mind, compare the total transaction amount first. If the transaction amount and date match a charge you already made, you needn’t worry. This is likely just a case of a card or bank processing company not matching the name of the company you made the payment to initially. As long as you don’t see any additional charges or other suspicious behaviors, you are likely fine.
However, charge amounts that do not match any of your prior purchases or authorized transactions can be cause for concern. Go ahead and record the transaction posting date, the amount of the payment, and the name of the company that received the payment.
2) Notify the Payee of The Error
The next step in dealing with an unauthorized withdrawal from bank account is to notify the payee of the error. This step specifically relates to duplicate ACH transactions that may have occurred. In these cases, it’s most likely a clerical error as opposed to a compromised checking account. If your charge is not recognized, go ahead and proceed to the next step.
The best way to know you are working with this type of situation is if you recognize the payee for the transaction in question. In most cases, you will see two charges that occur no more than one day apart for the same amount and same company. Go ahead and contact the customer service department for the company in question. You can notify them of the duplicate transaction.
An important note to remember is that most companies will want to verify that the transactions have cleared. This means that they will want a copy of your bank statement. This is how they can see that the transactions in question have finished posting to your account. If the transactions are still pending, it’s entirely possible for one of them to be refunded in the next few days.
The exact processing time for an ACH refund can vary from company to company. In most cases, you should expect a refund in seven to ten business days. If you are still unable to get a duplicate ACH transaction cleared at this time, proceed to the next step.
3) Speak Directly with Your Bank
Closing the Old, Opening a New Account
In the event that you do not recognize an ACH charge or the company is dragging its feet with refunding your money, it’s time to speak with your bank. This step is also crucial for any type of unauthorized debit card transactions as well. Most banks require that users notify the bank in a timely manner. As a result, they avoid being responsible for erroneous charges on their account.
When calling the bank, there is typically a special customer service section. An entire department handles unauthorized transactions as well as lost or compromised debit cards. For debit card issues, the bank will likely freeze your debit card temporarily. This way, they avoid any further charges going through. For a compromised account number, your account will likely be closed, and a new one opened.
Disputing the Transactions
The rep will likely review each of the charges with you. They make sure that all suspicious transactions are identified. It helps to have a copy of your current statement in front of you during this process. This will start a process known as disputing the transactions. In most cases, you typically have up to 60 days to file a dispute with your bank and to get the issue resolved.
It’s important to note that the exact amount of time it takes to get money refunded to your account will vary on a case by case basis. However, this will result in getting the transactions in question cleared up in the most efficient way possible.
Some users are concerned about not having a working debit card due to fraudulent activity. In this case, you should ask the customer service department about potentially getting a temporary card from a banking center while you wait for your replacement.
4) Don’t Forget to File a Police Report
The last step to remember when dealing with fraudulent transactions is that you may have to file a police report. This step is not needed for simple duplicate transactions on your account.
On the other hand, it may prove necessary in cases where more severe forms of fraudulent activity have occurred. When in doubt, consult with your bank to determine if they require a police report. This way, you can finish the dispute process outlined in the third tip above.
While it may seem scary dealing with unauthorized withdrawals from bank account, remember that your bank is there to help you throughout the process. By taking your time and doing your research, you can help ensure that the process of reversing unauthorized transactions goes as smoothly as possible. If you have any tips you would like to add, feel free to post them in the comments section.