Tuesday, December 4, 2012

What I Did With $3,000 Of Identified Moolah

First off, I need to tell you that if you haven't read the previous post, you should read it here. The second thing I need to tell you is that the event in question happened before Thanksgiving. So the decision -by now -- is currently irreversible.

The third thing you need to know is that it was a very tiring month. The Overlord had 4 appointments to go to last month, one of which was a 7am MRI scan where I had to get to the hospital at 6am. And she didn't like it one bit. Combine all the grocery store runs, work deadlines, and my own doctor's appointments, November ended up being a very physically and mentally weary month.

I mention this because the day in question was a day when I had just gotten back from somewhere. I can't tell you where, because I don't quite remember. All I know was that I was ready to give The Overlord her lunch and get some work in to make it a semi-productive day. As I mentioned in the previous post, I was doing some banking on the phone, when I discovered the balance in my checking account was off. Way off.

An extra $3,000 in an account sends warning bells in the mind. If it was an extra $50, I probably would have shrugged shoulders and assumed I had made a mistake in my own accounting calculations. But $3,000 extra can't go unnoticed unless you're a money-grubbing CEO skimming off the company's profits without the shareholder's noticing.

As the Overlord ate her hotdogs with ketchup, I stood amazed when hearing this amount in my account. I was equally amazed when I couldn't pull up any information about the transactions. So I hung up the phone and waited as The Overlord finished her hotdogs.

I bundled The Overlord up in her coat, slipped my coat on with a sigh, and headed out. I crossed the street to the hospital, walked around and to the front, and then crossed the street to the bank.

I know I shouldn't complain about being tired and not wanting to go to the bank when the bank is less than a 5 minute walk from where I live. But I will. Because if this hadn't happened, I would have still been at home, relaxing myself as I ate my own lunch while putting The Overlord down for a nap. Unexpected circumstances are always taxing, if not inconvenient.

I walked up to the teller and told him what was going on as far as I knew. He tried to pull up the information on his screen, and discovered there wasn't much there because the transaction had JUST happened about 2 hours ago. They were able to discover at which bank it happened at, and a quick phone call began to unravel events.

One number off.

My checking account is one number off from another person's checking account. For example, my checking account number (not really) is 11111111112. The other person's account was 11111111113.

It was human error. The bank teller at the other location made a mistake by a slip of a finger on the last number. Instead of placing in the "3" for the last number, they placed in the "2," and the deposited money went winging electronically into my account.

My bank teller said they would get the two accounts straightened out. I verified the true amount that I should have in my account AFTER the error was fixed. Then I went home.

So the money wasn't mine. No Lady Luck gave me the money in a legit manner. I hadn't earned the cash. So I didn't plan to spend it. I don't know what the other person's situation was. I don't know if this was all the money they had in the world, and desperately needed it to pay bills. I don't know if it was some rich couple and $3,000 would never be missed in their account.

All I knew was that I needed to fix the problem to keep my own finances secure. Because there was no way for me to NOT know if the other person would have gone to the bank, claiming the money was missing, then claimed a HIGHER amount than $3,000 belonged to them, which would have effectively drained my bank account.

I still have an account with the bank, since I've been with this bank for many years and I can't blame one mistake with changing accounts. I know that my account information is secure. My teller isn't going to share my banking information, and the other teller is definitely not going to let this incident slip in fear of losing their job. The person who had their money misdirected will never know it had actually happened.

That's what I did. Whether you would have done the same is your decision. But I'm fine about not spending cash that isn't mine.


  1. Yup; right thing to do; it was never your money, anyway. My comment to the previous post was made with the assumption that the money was legitimately mine (or, you know, yours).

    Once my son and I found an envelope containing over $100 in cash, lying on the ground outside a 7-11. I told the clerk I'd found some cash (without saying how much), and left my phone number, in case someone came looking for it. I went home, and ten minutes later, got a call from someone (whose voice sounded a lot like the clerk's) saying they'd lost some money at the 7-11. When I asked how much, they mumbled and hung up. Then, a half-hour later, I got a call from a woman who knew the amount, so we arranged a meeting to give her her money, which was for her rent. And that gave me more satisfaction than $100 would have. . .

  2. I remember when you told about the "dishonest clerk" story on Suldog's blog. Always a good read (your comments, I mean... and Suldog's blog too) I did think the same thing, considering the large amount deposited, that it was someone who really needed the cash. But, I also have to admit, I was worried about phishing scams too.

  3. Well, of course, you did the right thing. I would never have doubted that for an instant. Interesting to think about it, though. IF you had been dishonest and spent the cash, and then been caught (which certainly could have come about if the other person discovered the error) it might have been ugly.

  4. I always wondered what the bank would do. The other person would definitely be covered by the error. But, would it fall onto my shoulders to always know how much is in the account? If I spent it and tried to claim innocence, would the bank hold it against me? It was lucky I found out on the exact day it was deposited.

  5. You did the right thing, Michelle.
    I'm so sorry that you had a tiring day, and I do hope that all came out well with your sweet girl's MRI results.
    Sending you love and hugs,

  6. i think everyone here is in agreement that you took the right course. i think we were all hoping for some mysterious benefactor as well, but since that is not the case glad it was straightened out.

  7. What they all said.
    I'm glad, too, that it didn't remain a mystery.

  8. These kind of post are always inspiring and I prefer to read quality content so I happy to find many good point here in the post writing is simply great thank you for the post.
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