3 On Your Side

Woman says bank lost her money

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Toni tingley said she forgot about a CD she purchased in 1993. (Source: 3TV) Toni tingley said she forgot about a CD she purchased in 1993. (Source: 3TV)

Toni Tingley watches her money. 

"No, I don't l like to blow money," she said. "I'm kind of frugal."

Not only is her home decorated with items bought from discount stores, but she refuses to upgrade her TV, which she got from her mom years ago. Tingley says it works just fine.  

"She had it 20 years before I got it," she said.

It's not surprising that this money-savvy woman decided to take $1,000 to a bank called Citibank and put it into a certificate of deposit, commonly referred to as a CD.

The CD clearly states her name and the amount she deposited - $1,000. But that deposit was made 21 years ago, back in 1993.

Tingley said she forgot about the CD until she recently found it in a drawer that she was cleaning out.
As you might imagine, Tingley says she and her husband were thrilled. 

"My husband and I went to the bank and we were kind of financially strapped and I said, 'Hey, what is this?'  And I thought, we could cash it in for $1,000," she explained.
The couple got bad news.

Citibank, which is now Citi, told her the account was considered abandoned after years of inactivity and, as a result, her money was reportedly sent to the Unclaimed Property Division at the Arizona Department of Revenue.

That agency says on its website that it has "returned tens of millions of dollars to Arizona citizens."

Unfortunately, the Department of Revenue has no record of Tingley or her money being handed over by her bank.

In a letter to Tingley, Citi wrote that  "...the retention period for bank records is seven years." That means Citi doesn't even have records of that account anymore.

Tingley says consumers need to be aware because what happened to her can happen to anyone who puts money into a bank. 

"Pay attention and listen," she said. "And understand banking because I didn't understand banking." 

To keep this from happening to you, make sure you do at least one transaction a year. That transaction can be a deposit or a withdrawal. 

Even if you move and change your address, that's usually considered activity and your account will not appear to be dormant.

If your account sits dormant, the bank is required to forward your money to the state, but many consumers, like Tingley, complain their funds were lost or fell through the cracks.

Copyright 2015 3TV (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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