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Have you ever asked someone to write a fake check using your bank account? If so, you’ll know how organized you are with your banking and automatic bill paying. Yes, this happened to me recently and was not without headaches. The incident taught me a number of lessons.

First, checks aren’t the safest way to give someone money. The check that was used was a graduation check to someone I once met. I had no idea what a scam was and I don’t think this grad was one of them either. I don’t know how my check got cleared after it was deposited online. But my account number and routing number and my signature are on every check.

Lesson 1: You can give money to individuals through your bank without writing a check.

Lesson 2: Check your bank statements regularly. I was lucky that only one check was written. Others have had more forged checks withdrawn from their bank accounts. Study your statements to verify each line. This should also be done with credit card statements. I called occasionally only to find it was really about my bills.

Lesson 3: Make a list of how you pay your automatic payments. I put what I can on my credit card. Some companies won’t accept automatic payment on credit cards, so I’ve reverted these to payment from my bank account. Monitor the amounts withdrawn.

Lesson 4: Don’t keep a huge sum in your checking account in case something happens like what happened to me. You can always transfer money as needed to your checking account.

Lesson 5: Know your usernames and passwords to avoid having to change them. Having them readily available saves valuable time when verifying your accounts.

Be careful. There are all kinds of people who are out to scam you. Ask your bank or credit union if you’re doing it right. I’m sure they would be more than willing to insure you or make your accounts more secure.

Lesson 6: As frustrating as it was to change bank accounts, payments, and all the stress that went with it, I have to remember that we always have to trust people.

There are many who want to help. I can’t say enough good things about the banker, Christina, who helped me sort everything out. This brings me to Lesson 7: Ask for help when you need it.

Doris Puls, of D&O Decluttering and Organizing, is a professional organizer on a mission to make a difference in the lives of the people she works with in homes and businesses. Contact her at [email protected] or 989-356-9545.

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Shawanda H. Saldana