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Watch for $4K taco on bank statement

By Allison Ross ·
Thursday, April 24, 2014
Posted: 4 pm ET

© Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock.comA near taco-tastrophe at a Southern California Del Taco restaurant has become food for thought on the need to heed your bank account balances.

About 150 people who bought meals from one of the restaurant's locations were each mistakenly charged thousands of dollars thanks to a technical glitch, according to news reports.

One man, who was charged $4,050 for one CrunchTada Pizza and two beef tacos, discovered the overcharge when he was later denied an ATM withdrawal of $20, according to The Associated Press. (Don't worry, he's still a loyal patron of the establishment and will be refunded his money, the article says.)

While these sorts of mistakes do sometimes happen, these premium burritos provide fodder for a discussion on the need for consumers to pay attention to their finances.

It's always a good idea to take a quick peek at receipts to make sure everything is copacetic. Similarly, it's important for consumers to keep an eye on their checking accounts to verify how big a balance they carry and how much has been withdrawn.

"It's imperative. ... You've got to look at your information," says Leslie Corcoran, CFP, president and owner of Family First Financial Planning in Stuart, Fla. "It's crazy how people don't look."

Corcoran says she's had clients bring her old bank statements that were still sealed in the envelopes. She says many people pay more attention to how many minutes they've used on their cellphone plans than how much they have in the bank.

"Even though you think you have 'x' amount of money, you could get hit with overdraft fees," Corcoran says.

Overdraft fees have been on the increase for years, with the average overdraft costing bank consumers $32.20, according to a Bankrate survey in 2013.

That means not knowing how much you've got in the bank can really hurt you. A recent study by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that about half the banks studied still reorder consumer withdrawals from high to low, which could mean a consumer could end up paying multiple overdraft fees on sometimes small amounts.

Corcoran says checking your balance is easy these days, thanks to options such as online or mobile banking or being able to call your bank to check your balance. That means consumers can learn pretty quickly when they've been incorrectly charged thousands of dollars for a burrito.

Bankrate highlights several reasons why balancing a checkbook is still an important task.

Have you ever been charged the incorrect amount for an item and not noticed? Why have you overdrawn your bank account in the past? Do you think mobile banking would help to resolve it?

Follow me on Twitter: @allisonsross.

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Miss Lee
July 18, 2014 at 10:03 pm

I text "BAL" to my bank to check fund availability. I have also set up text alerts on all my accounts. If my balance drops below the limit I have set I get a text message. I will warn my fast food eating children to check those receipts when they pay with their debit cards.

April 26, 2014 at 9:10 pm

so sad so bad

April 26, 2014 at 5:31 pm

Another proof that basic American financial literacy is dead!
This is basic kindergarten stuff. Hackers all over the world know this and are having a heyday.