If you checked your account balances and noticed a huge bank error in your favor, would you resist the temptation to spend it? For your sake, you better hope so!
Finding a bank error of tens of thousands of dollars mistakenly deposited in your account sounds like a dream come true.
But doing the wrong thing could land you in major trouble.
If you’ve ever set foot in a bank in the last several decades, you know they document transactions. When I was a kid, there were passbooks that everyone kept that had a running balance.
Nowadays, other than the few who have check registers, people track their balances online or via mailed bank statements.
But what would you do if you found an extra $10,000, $50,000 or even $100,000 in your checking account?
Would you spend it or call the bank and alert them to the error?
It has happened before.
When you consider how many transactions happen every day, it’s difficult to ignore the possibility of an occasional mistake. All of us have probably caught a problem with an account at some point over the years.
Most of the time, it seems, those errors aren’t in our favor!
Sometimes, though, a bank puts a large sum of money in the wrong account by accident. What some people apparently don’t understand is that isn’t an invitation to go on a shopping spree.
Back in 2015, a Georgia teen was convicted for spending $30,000 mistakenly placed into his bank account. The teen allegedly purchased a BMW with the unexpected windfall before it was caught.
This month, police said a couple in Pennsylvania spent $120,000 mistakenly put in their bank account. Police said they used the money to pay bills, make a down payment on an SUV, buy a camper, two four-wheelers and a car trailer.
In the case of the teenager, he was sentenced to 10 years on probation. A judge also ordered him to pay the money bank.
In the more recent case, it hasn’t yet gone to trial.
CNN interviewed a neighbor who called the allegations “kind of shocking.”
“With all the procedures the banks have set up, and you know, checking and double-checking, triple-checking, there’s no way anybody gets away with that stuff,” he said.
Those procedures will find that cash!
Sooner or later, a bank will definitely track down where that money went. All they have to do is check balances and see which account had a sudden jump in balance.
The website HelpWithMyBank.gov, run by the U.S. Treasury, says a bank doesn’t need to ask your permission to remove money it incorrectly deposited into your account.
No matter how fast you spend those ill-gotten gains, the bank will take it back. And if that cash comes out after you’ve spent it, expect overdraft charges that’ll be your fault.
The bank can even freeze your account so none of the money can be withdrawn, the site states.
So if you ever see that cash, enjoy the balance while you have it.
But whatever you do, don’t spend it. It’ll be a decision you’ll likely regret once it’s too late.