Concerns over mobile bank depositing app


CENTERVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) – More and more people are turning to their phones to deposit checks. But 2 NEWS Investigates found a possible problem with the growing trend. It involves the same checks being deposited again and again.

These new check depositing apps are meant to make your life easier, a person takes a  picture of a check and it’s deposited into their account. The bank never gets the actual check and we found because of that, it’s possible for that check to be deposited more than once.

And that’s exactly what caused one Centerville woman’s bank account to get doubled dipped.

Janet Moland is shocked after her experience with new banking technology that allows you to deposit checks from your phone.

A friend called her in July saying she found two checks, totaling 195 dollars Janet had written her in 2012.

According to Janet, that friend couldn’t remember if she cashed them so she used her mobile check depositing app with her bank, PNC thinking if she had already deposited the checks, the bank wouldn’t allow her to do it again.

She was wrong.

“I went back and low and behold in 2012 the two checks had been cashed and in 2014 in last July they were cashed again,” said Janet.

Janet showed 2 NEWS Investigates her bank statement that had the check number and deposit date listed twice for both checks.

Once Janet contacted her bank, Citizens National, about the double deposit, she had the action reversed within the day but she still has questions and concerns about potential fraud.

She came to 2 NEWS Investigates wanting to know how checks that were cashed nearly 2 years ago were able to be cashed again!

“What’s to keep someone from swiping it to this bank and swiping it to that bank until the person who wrote the check double checks their account.”

I called PNC to find out how this could happen. Their app was used to make the double deposits.

PNC spokesperson, Marcey Zwiebel declined an interview and declined to talk directly about this situation. But she did admit duplicate deposits can happen but she says they are rare.

She said PNC has duplicate detection systems in place within and across financial institutions and in the event of a duplicate deposit they work with customers to get it corrected.

We asked how well those duplicate detection systems work but for security reasons she didn’t answer.

She recommends customers monitor their own account for inaccuracies.

“But someone who writes a lot of checks has got a lot of responsibility to monitor their account,” said Janet.

2 NEWS Investigates looked further into the threat of fraud with this mobile technology commonly refereed to as remote deposit capture.

We found that a federal council..which helps keep banks consistent with policies..warned banks about the potential problems with remote deposit capture technology when it first started being used in 2009.

It specifically states “aspects of fraud risk are elevated in an RDC environment.”

I spoke with a consultant involved with the development of those policies, John Leekley.

He said the mobile deposits are a huge advancement for banking and making deposits more efficient.

He said there is a fraud risk anytime a check is deposited and banks have come a long way in their security, but there’s still work to do.

Leekley said there’s a program is in the works that will help all banks out with monitoring accounts.

Zwiebel said PNC has sanctions in place for repeat check depositors.

They ask each customer to not deposit checks more than six months old. She said if a customer is found to continually try and deposit checks over and over they can have their mobile banking privileges suspended or even have their account closed.

Leekley provided the following tips for customers using the mobile banking app for depositing checks:

-Write on the back of the check. Include your signature, “for deposit”, and the date you put it through.

-Don’t leave the deposited checks sitting around. Put them in a separate place so you know they have been deposited.

-Monitor your account

-Watch for when the bank confirms the deposit. Follow bank’s guidelines for how long to keep deposited checks.

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