While financial institutions often go through various security checks to make sure that the $50 and $100 bills you hand to them are genuine, most consumers will accept these same bills from banks without giving a thought to whether or not they are bogus. Problem is, if you end up with counterfeit cash, you are most likely screwed.
A New Jersey man says he recently learned this the hard way, when he withdrew $2,500 in cash from his TD Bank account and tried to deposit it at Bank of America. Unfortunately, one of $100 bills he was given by TD Bank turned out to be counterfeit.
He filled out the Secret Service paperwork and went back to TD Bank, where the teller said she remembered handing the pile of cash to the customer.
“She acknowledged that TD Bank had accidentally passed a counterfeit $100 bill to me,” the customer tells the Newark Star-Ledger’s Bamboozled column. “Perhaps showing great naivety on my part, I asked her to authorize a replacement bill.”
Alas, the manager said it was bank policy that once a customer accepts cash — counterfeit or not — it’s the customer’s problem and not the bank’s.
While TD Bank wouldn’t comment to Bamboozled on its policy, it is the case for many financial institutions that once the customer is out the door, the bank is not going to reimburse them for counterfeit cash.
After all, it is difficult if not impossible for the TD Bank customer in this story to prove that the fake $100 bill he handed to BofA didn’t come from somewhere else.
There are numerous ways that consumers can check for counterfeits, though this particular story could have been avoided had the customer done an electronic funds transfer or simply gotten a cashier’s check.
Also, while $2,500 in $20 or $10 bills would be a pretty sizable stack of cash to carry around, these notes are rarely counterfeited. And if one happens to be a fake, at least you’d only be out $10-$20, instead of the $100 the TD Bank customer will likely never see again.
“Unless I am completely ignorant and naive, I feel like I have been duped, but I don’t want the money back,” he tells Bamboozled. “I consider the $100 to be a donation to educating your readers.”
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