Â The following article appears in the publication - Retail Crime, Security, and Loss Prevention: An Encyclopedic Reference. Published by: Butterworth-Heinemann (February 28, 2008) Authors: Charles Sennewald & John Christman.
Your bank deposit is missing! by: Curtis Baillie
Many thoughts come to mind when you get the phone call from your companyâ€™s accounting or treasury department advising you of a missing bank deposit. The first questions you ask yourself are, Is it cash and checks or just missing cash, and the checks were deposited? Was it internal theft, or was the money taken by a bank employee? You have interviewed the employees responsible for making the deposit and are reasonably comfortable that the deposit was made; itâ€™s now time to call the bank.
Whereâ€™sÂ my money?
When investigating missing bank deposits itâ€™s key to remember that the money may be at the bank. One of the first steps is to call the bank. Ask if they have any â€œunclaimedâ€ funds for the date of your missing deposit. Banks keep unaccounted for funds for one year. At the end of their accounting year, banks will claim the money as assets of the bank. It never hurts to ask, if they have unaccounted for, or unclaimed cash on the date of your deposit; they will give you the money. When contacting the bank, ask for the Branch Manager. The bank representative should be willing to fully cooperate with you - youâ€™re the customer.
Ask questions regarding the processing of night deposits. Make careful notes of the answers to your questions, as during your investigation you may find that they are not following their own internal policies. Here are some basic questions you should ask:
What are your policies for checking in deposits?Â
Most banks require two people to check in deposits from the drop box. Both employees are required to sign the check in-log. Banks use a log sheet, recording the date and time your deposit was removed from the box, and if the integrity of the deposit bag was intact. In one â€œmissing depositâ€ case the bank manager boldly stated, My bank did not receive the deposit - as it was not recorded on our logs. Two weeks later the same manager called stating they were crediting the missing funds. When asked why, he replied, One of my tellers went on vacation, and when they returned, your deposit was located in one their unlocked desk drawers.
Where are deposit bags held while waiting to be checked in and verified?
Surprisingly, some banks keep your deposit on a counter or cart in the teller area of the bank while waiting to be counted. In one such investigation, when visiting the bank, the â€œchecked-inâ€ deposits were sitting on a counter within easy reach of bank customers. When this discrepancy was brought to the attention of the bank officials our account was quickly credited, as they were in violation of their own internal cash handling policies.
When is Â my deposit verified?
Normally banks verify deposits later in the afternoon and have a difficult time detailing what happened to your bag. In one such case, the bank received the deposit at 9:00 A.M., as verified by their check-in log. At 3:00 P.M. when the teller conducted the bag examination, prior to counting the funds, they found the cash portion of the bag ripped open and the cash was missing. The customers account was immediately credited, and the bank launched an investigation.
Where is Â my deposit verified?
If your deposit is not processed at the depositing bank, it is transported to an off site location or â€œcash vaultâ€ to be counted. Take the time to make an appointment to visit and tour this location. If you can, visit the vault with your finance or operations executives. You may find discrepancies such as poor video quality of the cash count cages. On one such tour, it was found that individual cash count booths were only on camera for a three-second period, every twenty-seven seconds, and cash counters were allowed to keep their coats and purses in their booths. When asked about this highly unusual policy the vault manager stated that the Union had fought to let the counters keep their personal articles in the counting booths, and they were unable to change their policies. Other security discrepancies were discovered, and our company quickly moved the account to another banking operation. Amazingly, our missing cash problems stopped.