It’s commonly believed that banks are liable if someone withdraws money or has gained access to your bank account illegally. While most banks do assume responsibility when fraud occurs, this was not the case in a recent supreme court battle that found a plaintiff liable when all funds were withdrawn from an account.
Compass Bank was not held responsible when funds were drained from a client’s bank account repeatedly. Instead, the court noted that the plaintiff should have checked the account balance and had the responsibility to notify the bank when mysterious or inaccurate charges appeared. Since the plaintiff did not notify the bank and did not check the account over the span of one year, the bank was not held responsible for the missing funds.
Checking Your Bank Statement
It is your responsibility to check bank statements regularly and monitor any spending that occurs. It is especially important to do this in order to stay on top of finances and plan for any emergencies (you should have enough funds to cover basic necessities in case of an unexpected expense or job loss, etc.). Neglecting to look at an account statement or view all transactions monthly is a good way to fall prey to criminal activity.
A good guideline to follow is to look at your account monthly with your partner, monitor spending, make sure you are within your budget range, and note any strange activity or transactions that you are unsure of - you can always call your bank or the store to inquire about a transaction. If you do see that something is suspicious, it is important to call your bank right away and make note of the odd activity. Your bank will put a hold on your account and investigate the claim immediately.
That Cookie Does Crumble
While I understand how hard it was for the plaintiff, in this case, to lose all funds from a personal account, it is the responsibility of the consumer to make sure that all funds are accounted for. Neglecting to review your bank account statement is purely irresponsible - and, no, your bank might not be responsible if your account has been compromised.
What do you think of this case? Should banks be held responsible if funds are withdrawn illegally?