Damaris Arciga, Dec. 21: How an ATM stole my Christmas


On Nov. 23, I went to my local Watsonville Chase Bank to deposit $2,000.

Before going into the branch, I made sure to double check all the cash was there. I took out $60 because I would need some cash later on in the day. I grabbed the $1,940 along with my debit card and proceeded toward the ATM.

Once I placed the cash on the panel it took the money but returned some folded bills. Once the bills were fixed, I selected “deposit more” and placed the bills once again on top of the panel, then I did it one more time after this. At this point the machine gave me back a slightly folded $100 bill and on the screen showed I had already deposited $1,840. I pressed the deposit button one more time and dropped the last $100 bill I was holding.

However, the panel where the money goes began to glitch. I quickly grabbed the bill hoping the ATM would stop glitching. After a minute or so it went into the last screen where it checks off what has been done.

Once I saw this screen, I thought, “Great, my transaction went through.” But this was short-lived when I looked down at the receipt.

Instead of it having my balance, it had a number to call to check if my deposit went through. Super anxious, I went to a teller and let her know what happened. She checked my account and said nothing was deposited and I would have to call the number on the receipt.

I then asked if I could speak to a manager. I waited a few minutes and Miguel, the manager, took me back to his cubicle and contacted the customer service number on the receipt after I explained to him what happened. Once a claim was filed, I was told a credit would be placed in my account within 12 hours and a technician will be sent out in the next few days to check the ATM.

The next day, I call the claims department to do a follow-up. The representative, Valerie, told me she couldn’t do much at this point due to the amount of money that is being claimed and someone higher up would have to investigate deeper into the matter, which could take weeks. Valerie was a great help and she did what she could, but was unable to answer my questions. Therefore, I was left with a mind full of anxiety and stress.

Fast forward to Nov. 26. A credit in the amount of $1,840 was placed in my account while my claim is pending an investigation. However, due to the fact that it is only a credit, I have decided not to use the money until this dilemma is resolved. Which in my case means canceling my holiday vacation plans and using the money I have saved to cover the $1,840 that was eaten by a Chase ATM, until I know for a fact Chase will not randomly take my money out of my account.

While my claim is being investigated, I want to reach out to people and hope they learn something from my experience, especially since we are nearing Christmas and I don’t wish this stress on anyone.

If anyone plans to use any ATMs, just keep these tips in mind:

• Deposit money inside with a teller.

• If you need to deposit in an ATM, take a picture of all the bills where you can see the serial numbers and amounts or write them down.

• When you are depositing, take pictures of the screen when it shows the amount it’s counted (I wish I would’ve done this, but you never think something will happen until it does).

• If you are depositing a check, try doing a mobile deposit so you can keep the original copy.

• If you have to deposit a check at an ATM, take a picture of the front and back of the check as proof or write the check number down before you deposit.

• If possible, try to make time to go during bank hours in case something does happen, then a bank representative is there to assist you.


Damaris Arciga is a resident of Watsonville. Her opinions are her own and not necessarily those of the Register-Pajaronian.


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