Processing checks electronically is becoming a standard practice, brought about the Check 21 law, or ACH (Automated Check House) processes.

Electronic checks save businesses a lot of money in processing costs.

Walmart is one business taking advantage of electronic checks – and when a check is written to Walmart – it’s scanned in their point-of-sale system – then returned to the customer. From there, everything is handled “electronically.”

I read a story put out by KRTK Houston about a Walmart employee, who scammed a customer by keeping the check (supposed to be returned), then used it to purchase merchandise and gift cards numerous times.

KRTK Houston story with video presentation, here.

When the customer noticed the fraudulent transactions on her account, she reported it to the Walmart and the employee was arrested.

The story also indicates that there are other victims out there that haven’t been identified yet.

According to the story, the customer isn’t being made whole by her bank because she didn’t discover the transaction within thirty days and Walmart isn’t refunding her money, either.

When check fraud occurs, victims are normally made whole by their bank, who goes after the business by charging them back for the transaction. If a business refunds the customer for their losses, the customer might be able to have the transactions charged back to them, also.

My guess is that Walmart isn’t refunding the money because the bank still might charge-back the transactions to them?

Of note, it’s probably not completely fair that Walmart is the only one being mentioned in the article. There is no mention of what bank is involved. I hope Walmart and the bank have since sorted this whole thing out and taken care of the people, who were victimized as a result of this.

After all – it only makes sense to do so – processing checks electronically saves them a lot of money by not having to process paper and if more stories surface (like this one), it’s likely to affect “consumer trust.”

I read consumer tips all the time that we should use our credit cards versus debit cards because they offer better protection in the case of fraud.

Tom Fragala (CEO of Truston) wrote a great post about this, here.

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