Ralph knows that mysterious deposits in your bank account from unknown entities are probably not a good thing. They’re much more likely to be harbingers of fraud than tiny, mysterious gifts. So he alerted his bank, Bank of America, that someone might be trying to steal from his account. The bank proceeded to do… not all that much, since no fraud had been committed yet.
A couple of months ago, I saw two small (less than 25 cents each) electronic deposits into my Bank of America checking account. I couldn’t figure where they came from, but I did know that when you set up an automatic transfer the first step is for the intended recipient to make small deposits into your account. After that you verify the amounts, and then the automatic transfers can proceed.
It looked to me that some organization that I wasn’t aware of was trying to set up a way to withdraw money from my account. So I phoned the fraud hotline at B of A and explained the issue. One of the persons I talked to suggested that I close the account and replace it with a new one. Since I have a number of automatic bill-paying accounts, that would be a huge hassle. I asked instead for information on the organization that made the deposits. I was told that they would investigate and get back to me with a letter.
Nothing happened for a while so I called again. They asked if I’d like to have the money returned to the organization that deposited it. I said yes, because I felt that would send a message that I was aware of the potential threat and was following up on it. So the amounts were removed from my account. Eventually I got vague letter from my bank saying that “no error has occurred.”
I called again and asked why I hadn’t received any information as to the source of the deposits. I was told that the source had used Wells Fargo to put the money into my account and I’d have to get the information from Wells. When I phoned them, they said that it wasn’t their responsibility to follow up on this instead of B of A. They also checked the organization identifying number of the original source and said they didn’t have that organization in their system.
I followed up with another call to my B of A. They were unresponsive to my concerns. It appeared that they were trying to avoid saying anything that would give me additional information about what was going on.