With the convenience of mobile banking services, it’s pretty easy to deposit check by just taking a couple of photos with your phone. But it’s important to remember that you still have to be careful about what happens to that paper check; just ask the Arizona woman who is out $1,500 after using the Bank of America mobile app to deposit a check
It’s good practice to write “deposited” on any check you deposit with a mobile app, and then, once it’s been accepted by your bank, destroy it.
That’s a lesson one Bank of America customer customer learned the hard way — and lost a lot of money in the process: ABC 12 News in Arizona has the story of a woman who used the bank’s mobile app to deposit a check for $1,500.
“I read terms and agreements. I make sure I’m doing things the right way,” the Scottsdale resident told the news station.
But two months after she deposited the check, she says the bank debited $1,500 from her checking account with no explanation. She called the bank to find out what the heck was going on.
“And they said ‘We can’t tell you’,” she says. She did her own digging, and even filed a police report to uncover more information.
As it turns out, after she’d deposited the check, it was apparently stolen. Even though her mobile deposit of the check had gone through, someone — caught on grainy ATM video — was able to cash that check a second time. The scammer even added a second signature to the back.
This second cashing of the check resulted in Bank of America debiting the customer’s account for the amount of the earlier deposit.
BofA has been made aware of the situation, but seems to indicate that this is all on the customer’s shoulders.
“To help prevent checks from being negotiated more than once, customers using mobile check deposit are directed in our Mobile Check Deposit Agreement to write ‘Deposited’ on the check and destroy the original check promptly after the deposit has been acknowledged,” a spokesperson said. “As long as the ‘live’ check is still in existence, there is a chance that it could be negotiated more times.”
The bank added that it is “not at liberty to discuss the transaction information captured in ATM footage.”
The customer calls BofA’s response “disappointing,” and says she will be pulling all her accounts with the bank.
“I’ll never deposit anything mobily ever again,” said Rogers.
As with any banking document you receive, make sure you comb the fine print so you know how long you need to keep the original check, and your rights regarding disputes. And again, write a big fat DEPOSITED on it while you’re waiting for it to be accepted, and destroy it when all is said and done. Paper shredders are known to do the trick.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Consumerist.