By Jim Donovan
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — When you write a check, you probably expect the money will only come out of your account once. But what if you get hit with a double debit? That’s right, the check is deposited twice! How can it happen? 3 On Your Side consumer reporter Jim Donovan explains.
Credit expert, Gerri Detweiler, was surprised to learn that a check she wrote to a charity was cashed twice.
“My first reaction was, ‘how did this happen?’ My second reaction was, ‘oh no, have I bounced any checks?’,” said Detweiler.
The check was first deposited by the charity virtually, by simply pointing, shooting and clicking using a remote deposit app.
But the second time, an employee at the charity went to the bank and mistakenly deposited the same check number again.
“I think most people would be shocked to learn that a check that they write could be deposited twice,” said Detweiler.
How else could a double deposit happen?
“It could be somebody deposits the same check by mobile into two different bank accounts at two different banks, or that they’ve deposited remotely using their mobile and then go to a store or check casher and cash it,” said Nessa Feddis with the American Bankers Association.
The American Bankers Association says a “double deposit” that results in a “double debit” from your account is rare.
“Generally if there is a duplicate deposit the check writer’s bank will catch it, and the check writer never knows anything about it,” said Feddis.
If your bank doesn’t catch a “double debit”, but you did. It will usually refund your money and any fees.
Can you get into trouble if you mistakenly double deposit a check? Generally, no, if it’s an honest error.
Once the bank finds out, the money from your second deposit will be deducted from your account.
In Gerri’s case, she didn’t bounce any checks, and the charity reimbursed her for the double deposit. Now, she urges people to keep a close eye on their accounts.
“I’ve learned a lesson here,” said Detweiler.
Experts say after you make a mobile deposit, keep the actual paper check for a week or two, but make a small mark, or paper tear on the check, so you can tell you’ve already deposited it.