Keep track of deposits. Make sure you record all deposits to your checking account in your checkbook immediately. When you make deposits, save the receipts. They can help resolve mistakes.
Remember to record all automatic or Electronic Fund Transfer (EFT) deposits, such as your paycheck, in your checkbook when they’re credited to your account.
Keep track of withdrawals. Immediately record your transactions. This includes: checks you write and electronic check conversion; ATM withdrawals; debit card transactions; preauthorized withdrawals; online transfers you make; and fees or service charges, including ATM fees.
Promptly balance your account when your statement arrives. This means reconciling the information you have recorded in your checkbook against the statement your financial institution sends to you. Review your entire bank statement; electronic check conversion may be recorded in an area other than where your paper checks are listed, such as under “other withdrawals.”
Review your statement to be sure your checks were only processed once and for the correct amount. If your account won’t balance, and you can’t find the error, promptly call your financial institution for help.
Be especially careful with telephone and online transactions. If a merchant or company lets you make a payment using check information for a phone or Web transaction, they should inform you that they will process your payment electronically. Your bank and checking account numbers will be requested as they appear at the bottom of your check, along with permission to charge the account for the item you’re paying for. Your transaction will then be processed and the funds withdrawn from your account and deposited in the merchant or company’s account electronically.
Be especially cautious about sharing your bank and checking account numbers. Do not give out personal information – particularly on the telephone, by e-mail or otherwise online – unless you have initiated the contact or know who you’re dealing with. Scam artists can use your personal information to commit fraud – such as identity theft. That’s where someone uses your personal information, such as your checking account number, Social Security number, mother’s maiden name, or birth date, without your knowledge or permission, to commit fraud or theft.