ATM eats woman's paycheck, $1,400 vanishes - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

ATM eats woman's paycheck, $1,400 vanishes

Have you ever deposited a check at an ATM?

If so, you may want to know what happened to one woman, so that you can protect yourself when cashing or depositing a check.

Where is My Money?

Lanette Reed recently deposited her paycheck into an ATM, as she's done many times before.

"I took it to the ATM at the bank, put it in, deposited it into my account, and went home thinking the money was in my account," she said.

But this time, the money didn't show up. $1,400 to feed her family and pay bills -- missing.

A few days letter, she received a letter from the bank.

"I get this letter in the mail, saying it cannot process the item. I call the call center, and they cannot tell me anything," she said.

So we contacted the bank, where a spokesman promised to investigate immediately.

Within hours, she got a call from the bank, and the money was on the way.

How This Can Happen to You

What happened? A bank spokesman tells us the check may have had some strange markings on it, which prevented the scanner from reading it.

What you may not know is that at newer ATMs, checks are now scanned electronically. No human ever touches that check, as they did when you used to put it in an envelope.

Reed says she learned that too late, with a customer service agent telling her "it used to be that you put it in the envelope, and at the end of the day a teller or somebody would look at the envelopes and process them. Now its all done automatically."

So how can you protect yourself?

  • It there's a branch nearby, go inside to a teller, and get a receipt.
  • If that's not possible, never deposit a check into that is hard to read, or has poor handwriting, into an ATM.

Reed says shes going to a teller with her next paycheck.

"You don't know when you're going to see it again," she said..

Are ATMs Safe?

Banks say ATMs are as safe as using a teller, and actually have less risk of human error.

But if you are planning to deposit cash, you still may want to to go inside, hand it to a teller, and get a paper receipt.

That way you don't waste your money.

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