from the math-is-hard dept
A few years ago, an honest Virginia man reported a bank error that resulted in an extra $1.8 million dollars in his bank account -- not once, but three times. Where did all of that money come from? Perhaps they have now found the source. This week, a Georgia man was notified that he had a negative balance of $211 trillion at his Wachovia bank account. His debt makes the national debt, which is only slightly over $9 trillion, seem like small potatoes. Luckily for him, Wachovia reports that the balance was caused by an isolated banking error, and that he was not liable for any charges related to the negative balance. In this case, the error was that his account number was entered in place of his balance. Like the $218 trillion phone bill we saw in 2006, why are errors of this magnitude not caught by some sort of bounds checking algorithm in the bank's software? Furthermore, if an error this size gets through all of the checks and balances, then what other, less noticeable errors are falling through the cracks every day?