Poker Cats

Sunday, May 22, 2011

An online banking cautionary tale

On Friday I was about to go out for a run when I decided to procrastinate a little more and decided to check one of my bank accounts.

I noticed a very strange debit -- an E-check in the amount of $29.95 to some kind of online entertainment site. When I looked at the E-check, it had my routing number and bank account number, something that doesn't happen by chance.

This set off alarm bells in my mind because I:

1). don't use online "entertainment" and 2). don't typically use this bank account for anything other than paying rent. I've paid my taxes with it and used a check for a down payment on my recent car. And those have been actual paper checks that I've signed instead of an electronic check.

But poker withdrawals have come through here. And, remembering all the way back to 2004, it dawned on me that with all of the places where I burned off poker and casino bonuses, you often had to include a voided check in the process. Who knows where those old checks and/or bank account information have gone?

So I went and called up the bank's fraud department and ended up having to completely close down that account and set up another one. The bank kindly credited my account with $29.95.

Truth be told, I have no idea where my bank account information was purloined from. I'm just glad I caught it before the account was cleaned out entirely.

I'm just passing this on for fellow bloggers to scrutinize their bank statements a little more closely, especially when it may have had contact with the nebulous regions of the online 'verse.

It also makes me think that credit card transactions are much better than traditional checks now. It's much less hassle to cancel a card or get one replaced than to have to set up a new bank account.

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