It happened in early 1986. I had a great deal of money in my bank account and all of a sudden a total of $1200 was withdrawn without my knowledge. The withdrawals were made from an ATM machine at a supermarket near my home, but I know for fact I didn’t make them. We’re talking 6 – $200 withdrawals. That is when I had to contact my bank.
The name of the bank was Marquette Bank, a Minneapolis bank that no longer exists. It was one of those smaller financial institutions that either folded or got bought out by a larger bank chain. Of course I took my statements to the bank and told them about the unauthorized withdrawals.
I stated that I did not make them and they questioned me to ensure I was not lying. Though I didn’t have to take a polygraph test, if they had the equipment, I more likely would have. They just told me they had to question me thoroughly to protect the welfare of the bank.
To convince them further, I said I wanted my current ATM card destroyed and my account number changed. The account managers seemed a slight bit mystified at my request, but granted it. They told me that when I signed their contract I agreed to accept a $50 deductible charge for any losses. Hence, I was only refunded $1,150.
ATM cards were first available in the early to mid 1980’s. Because ATM machines were relatively new then, I believe there were bugs in the networks. Even though I had plenty of cash in both of my accounts and had two cards, sometimes I would have to try them both repeatedly in some sessions to get some cash. This didn’t happen all the time, but when it did, it was aggravating. Still, I loved the convenience and didn’t mind the paying the small fees that some machines charged.
For the first two years of using ATM machines, I never deposited cash into them. This idea really scared me. All it required was counting and stuffing bills into an envelope and feeding an envelope into the ATM slot. No coins could be inserted for this would choke the machine. Of course you had to write your account number and the amount on the outside of the envelope. As you slid it into the machine you heard grinding noises as it printed its own messages onto your envelope. Finally, you would prey your money would really make it there. Still, I’m sure there were paranoid people out there who have never even tried deposits via ATM.
Anyway, getting back to the bank scandal, there was nothing wrong with my card, but I suspect that somehow someone used their card to hack into my account. My guess was an employee of Marquette Bank who had access to peoples’ account numbers, pin numbers, and all other sensitive data attempted to use this situation to his advantage. If this was the case, the employee carefully covered his tracks so he would never be discovered (unless this person was a woman of course). That’s what I suspect happened, but I’ll never know for sure.
There’s no denying that we’ve come a long way in banking. I remember back in the 1970’s when my mother went into the drive through lane at her bank. Back then you had to go to the bank to make transactions. In 1979 one of my brothers told us that there would be a way you could make deposits or withdrawals from your account without even having to go to the bank. I’m thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding! How in the world can you ever do that?”
Now look at us today; we’re actually making transactions online or pretty darn well near it. You still have to go to the bank or an ATM to put in or pull out money. Thank God for direct deposit. When I worked for an insurance company that year, direct deposit wasn’t available yet. We would get our checks on Friday and I had to take the bus downtown and try to deposit my check before 6:00 pm or wait until Monday if I worked overtime on pay day. Times have sure changed.
Knock on wood! Since 1986 I haven’t had any major problems with banks. I appreciate all the automated services today. Despite all the bad things I heard about debit cards, I still use mine as much as possible. No problems yet.
It seems to me that ATMs are slowly vanishing. It’s been so long since I used one, but if I should need to, I hope nobody’s peeking over my shoulders. I do not foresee ever having to use one again. Outdoor machines were hard to use, especially when the sun’s shining right on them. You almost had to cup your hands around your face to see dim displays. No thank you!
It used to be that when I went to an ATM, the person before me left his receipt in the machine. Sometimes, out of curiosity, I would look at it, but never find out anything interesting. Even worse yet, there were a few times I inadvertently left my card in the machine. Once in a 7-Eleven a casual acquaintance whom used the machine after me came up to me and told me I had done so. He stated that if he were dishonest, he could have withdrawn money from my account. Cripes, what’s wrong with me?
Now there is a service that allows you (a cell phone owner) to make payments to another with a cell phone by slapping your phones together. I’m not too crazy about this idea nor am I an expert on it. I rather use Paypal or do transfers online.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Hello, this is PublishNProsper and I write educational and fun-to-read stories and poems on various topics. If you loved this story, I would appreciate if you click LIKE. You may also want to review Is It Selfish to Take the Last Empty Seat? and Space Management: Do You Need a Bigger House? For more information please visit my main page, MAKING INFORMATIVE ARTICLES FUN. I am continuously tweaking and updating my profile as I add new material. Thank you.
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