Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Unauthorized ATM Withdrawal

"It wasn't me, Dad."

Now, my parents and I do travel quite a lot, so I can see how this transaction might look "normal." But we haven't been to South Florida in years, so this $500 withdrawal from our Charles Schwab checking account at a Miami ATM was a complete surprise to us.

Fortunately, my father watches our personal finances like a hawk using our favorite app from Mint.com. So when he scanned our transactions this morning, the random withdrawal was spotted immediately.

He then went online to Charles Schwab and logged into our account, confirming Mint.com was accurate. Despite keeping only $492 in the account, someone withdrew $500, forcing an overdraft.

Being a customer of a very reputable bank, our call to the Charles Schwab customer service was met with genuine concern and immediate action. They quickly cancelled all our linked ATM cards (the two we knew about we still had in our possession) and changed them so further withdrawals could not be made.

Apart from the transaction happening in Miami, Florida, the transaction didn't make sense for many reasons. My parents would never (A) withdraw more than the balance and (B) use the Schwab account when Miami has Chase Bank ATMs readily available. We only use Schwab ATMs when we're traveling internationally to avoid ATM fees.

And about 10 minutes after hanging up with the Charles Schwab representative, my father received an automated call from them trying to confirm if two additional denied transactions were authorized (more ATM withdrawal attempts of $500 and $300, respectively). Thankfully, those were denied so the loss was limited just to the initial $500, instead of $1,300.

I suppose that's one of the dangers of having so many accounts open. There's that many more of them to stay on top of.

Thank you Mint.com and Charles Schwab!

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