5 Tips for Protecting Your Checking Account

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1

Don't Give Your Bank Account Information to Anyone You Don't Know

Don't give out your bank account information for transactions unless you are familiar with the company you are dealing with. If you have not done business with the company before, only give out your bank account information if you initiated the transaction. Criminals who obtain your bank account information can withdraw money from your account by making an electronic transfer. Don't fall for scams or let yourself be pressured into "free trial offer".

2

Review Your Monthly Statements

Make sure all the checks, debits, automatic payments and other withdrawals are the ones you authorized. If you see a transaction that you did not authorize, notify your bank immediately. If your bank has online banking, you don't have to wait until your bank statement arrives in the mail, you can check your transactions online at any time.

3

Notify Your Bank About Any Problems

The sooner you alert your bank to a problem, the sooner the bank can get it resolved. It's always a good idea to follow up your phone call with a letter in writing to the bank. Keep copies of any letters you send and any documents that you give to the bank.

4

Don't Write the Check if the Money Isn't in the Account

Checks are being processed quicker these days which means the money may be taken out of your account sooner. Many stores and credit card companies convert checks to electronic payments so that the money can be deducted from your account quicker. If you don't have enough money in your account when you write a check or when you plan to use your debit card, you could find yourself paying a bounced check or overdraft fee.

5

Know Your Rights Under Consumer Protection Laws

If you have a problem with an debit to your checking account, you have certain rights under the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA). You also have certain rights under the EFTA if your check was converted to an electronic payment and there was a problem with the payment. Make sure to read up on the various steps to take under the EFTA if you have a problem with your bank account.

Additional Resources

Federal Reserve Publications - When a Check is Not a Check

Federal Trade Commission - Automatic Debit Scams

Federal Reserve Board - Protect Against Overdraft Fees

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