What should I do if my bank account is hacked? | finder.com
hacked bank account

What should I do if my bank account is hacked?

If you notice any strange or unusual activity on your bank statement, notify your bank immediately.

Cyber attacks on banks happen everyday, but not to worry, most banks are well protected against hackers. A threat of a cyber attack should not deter you from using a financial institution.

But in the case your account has been hacked, here’s how to regain control of your bank account.

Signs you’ve been hacked

Strange purchases that appear on your bank statement may be the first clue that a hacker has infiltrated your account. Always read credit card and bank statements, paying close attention to match the transactions to your activity.

Sometimes you’ll notice seemingly small, yet unfamiliar purchases. Thieves often do that to test if your card will work before making larger purchases.

Depending on your bank, it will notify you of suspicious activity and automatically cancel fraudulent charges and issue you a new card.

Lost or stolen card numbers

If you realize your card has been lost or stolen, contact your bank right away; Don’t wait for your bank to notify you of fraudulent activity.

Once you notify your bank of you missing card, it will freeze your account, blocking any purchases or payments. You can either visit a local branch for a temporary card or wait for a new card to come in the mail.

If any unauthorized purchases are made, most banks will refund you the lost money.

Here’s why your bank accounts are safe from hackers

Banks are liable

If a hacker steals money from a bank, the customer won’t lose money; The bank is liable to pay the money back to the customer.

Banks are improving security

Since banks are constantly under attack, they need to improve every aspect of their security so they have the latest software designed to protect you and your money. Every attack doesn’t make the news, but generally the big ones do. Banks are constantly improving their systems for detecting and dealing with these problems.

Ensure your account is not vulnerable

Most banking websites allow you to activate a feature called “remember your password” when you log in via the Internet. This allows you to skip several layers of security the next time you log in since the bank recognizes your computer’s IPv4 address — a unique identifier for each Internet connection.

Malware is a tool that hackers use to imitate your IPv4 address so they can gain access to your bank account. Often you don’t even know that they have control over your bank account. It’s best to disable the “remember your computer” feature.

Your guide to finding a bank account that meets your needs

Beware of spam

Email software is pretty good at getting rid of spam most of the time, however you may see something that resembles an official bank email that asks you to go to the bank’s website to confirm your information. This most likely is a scam. Hackers design sites that mimic bank’s websites. If something like this happens to you, don’t enter details such as a password unless you’re sure it’s a secure website.

The Internet monitors the security certificate of websites, making it easier to detect invalid sites.

Don’t stash your money under your mattress

If you put your money under your mattress because you believe all banks are evil, you may be increasing the risk of having your money stolen.

Cash does not equal safe money. Unfortunately, the news perpetuates the fear that unless your money is in cash, it isn’t safe. However it’s more likely that your house could be robbed and the criminals taking your money than it would be for a bank to lose your money due to cybercrime.

Have you been hacked while overseas?

If you believe you have fraudulent transactions on your debit card — whether it’s a foreign transaction or you’re currently overseas — block the card and lodge a dispute investigation. Before you go on vacation it’s always smart to gather a list of phone numbers in case of issues like this. Otherwise, a simple Google search should be able to find you the right number.

If your bank finds the transaction to be fraudulent, you should be refunded the missing money.

Steps to keep yourself safe

  • Keep your passwords and pins safe. That means not giving them out to anyone, including family or friends or anyone soliciting them over email. Also try not to write them down.
  • Check for site security. Most legitimate sites will have privacy and security terms that you can review. Secure URLs start with https — not http.
  • Avoid public networks for banking. That means no quick peeks at your finances while you’re out shopping or working. Using public networks can compromise your personal security and put your information at risk.
  • Don’t give your contact info to strangers. Confirm who is calling or writing first before providing any information.
  • Don’t necessarily answer security questions honestly. The name of your first pet won’t be verified, so you can choose a different word. Just make sure that whatever you use is memorable to avoid being locked out of your account.
  • Use more characters — and symbols — in your password. The more characters in your password, the better. Random letters interspersed with numbers and special characters will take much longer for software to crack than a simple series of numbers. Likewise, the same random assortment will make it harder for someone to simply guess your password.
  • Listen to your gut. Remember that your intuition is a quick series of patterns recognized by your subconscious. If your gut tells you something is off, it truly could be.
  • Report suspicious activity. Report any suspicious people or unverifiable companies soliciting your banking information. You may also want to contact your bank.
  • Run antivirus and anti-malware software. Doing so could end up preventing computer viruses and losing your information.
  • Double-check your transactions. Look over your statements for any fraudulent purchases, and report anything suspicious right away.
  • Ask for a second opinion. If you’re not sure if something is legitimate, don’t be shy about asking a friend or family member. It could end up saving you from a costly mistake.

Bottom line

Banks do have their flaws, but security software is constantly being improved to reflect the shared interests of its shareholders and customers.

Adrienne Fuller

Adrienne Fuller leads the publishing team at finder.com. She has one goal: to deliver the accurate and transparent information she wishes she had when she made some of life's important financial decisions. When she's not helping folks save money, she's hiking with her two Catahoulas around her home in San Diego.

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40 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    YudithApril 16, 2018

    I would like to know since my bank card was hacked, is the routing number the same or you guys change it?

    • Staff
      joelmarceloApril 17, 2018Staff

      Hi Yudith,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      Routing number and swift code is static and unique for each bank. To answer your question, it can not be changed since it is for all customers and not just for you unlike your account number.

      Cheers,
      Joel

  2. Default Gravatar
    GeorgeApril 11, 2018

    Are their lawyers that retrieve info on hacked accounts? Even after many years?

    • Staff
      joelmarceloApril 12, 2018Staff

      Hi George,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      You do not need the help of a lawyer to retrieve info from your hacked bank account. As long as you can prove to your bank that you own the account and passing all the necessary requirements, your bank will surely release all the info you may need.

      Cheers,
      Joel

  3. Default Gravatar
    ALERTDecember 24, 2017

    Remove your accounts from any bank that isn’t the U.S. bank. If you ever entered ur account info into your pc

    • Staff
      MayDecember 25, 2017Staff

      Hi there,

      Thanks for your comment and sharing this information. Yes, it is worthwhile that we take caution when it comes to providing our bank account details – be it for online transactions or at the store or establishments.

      Cheers,
      May

  4. Default Gravatar
    Shylton71October 26, 2017

    I gave my bank account information to someone who said they were going to deposit money. Although I now know that I shouldn’t have the damage is done. He added two external account links to my bank. And has never deposited any thing. What should I do. I feel so stupid

    • Staff
      JoanneOctober 27, 2017Staff

      Hi Shylton71,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      I’m so sorry this has happened. The first thing you need to do is contact the fraud hotline or fraud prevention department of your bank and report to them what has happened right away, that way they can do the necessary action and advise you if there is a need to restrict or block your account. If you have online banking you may want to monitor the activity of your account but the first step you need to do is inform your bank.

      Hope all goes well,
      Joanne

  5. Default Gravatar
    PaulOctober 16, 2017

    Hi, someone set up false Paypal funding o my account and transferred 1500 from my account to Paypal. Luckily I saw it in time and have now set up all notifications. A month later someone tried to change my online banking details and I got an e-mail, so challenged it and now someone has called my bank credit card and tried to get them to do a money transfer. I asked my bank to change my account number and they have said that they do not advise this?. is this correct?. I would have thought it would be better to change all of my account numbers etc.

    • Staff
      JhezelynOctober 16, 2017Staff

      Hi Paul,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Generally, opening a new bank account is the only way to effectively change your bank account number. This can be done before, after or at the same time of closing your old account. Accounts can be opened in person at a bank in your community, but many banks let you open new accounts online and over the phone. Please refer to this page on how to close your bank account.

      I hope this helps.

      Regards,
      Jhezelyn

  6. Default Gravatar
    AryanOctober 12, 2017

    My mother account has been hacked by someone can i get who has been hacked or can i get my money

    • Staff
      JudithOctober 12, 2017Staff

      Hi Aryan,

      Thanks for contacting finder, a comparison website and general information service.

      Usually, if a hacker steals money from a bank, the customer won’t lose money. The bank is liable to pay the money back to the customer. Your mother would need to contact her bank directly to report about it.

      I hope this helps.

      Best regards,
      Judith

  7. Default Gravatar
    JeraldOctober 9, 2017

    My account has been hacked overseas and almost half the money is gone. What should I do? I am really worried.

    • Staff
      ArnoldOctober 10, 2017Staff

      Hi Jerald,

      Thanks for your inquiry

      Your bank will investigate check how and when and how the hacking happened. If it is proven that a hacker stole money from a bank, the customer won’t lose money; The bank is liable to pay the money back to the customer. Please report the incident to your bank immediately.

      Hope this information helps

      Cheers,
      Arnold

  8. Default Gravatar
    SakthiOctober 6, 2017

    My account has been hacked and all my money in the bank is transferred to another unknown account. Can I get the details about the Money transferred account. Is that fine to lodge the complaint to police.

    • Default Gravatar
      JonathanOctober 6, 2017

      Hello Sakthi,

      Thank you for your inquiry. Please be informed that finder.com is a comparator company and we provide general advice.

      We are sorry to hear about what happened. We would advice that you report this first to your bank so that a dispute be made. Usually, your bank has a fraud team who can trace the transaction, and as an account holder, you may request for this information to be shared to you depending on the policy of the bank. In many instances, the bank will likely initiate closure of your old account, and process a refund to a newly opened one.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

    • Default Gravatar
      SakthiOctober 6, 2017

      Is there any other possibilities to find the hackers and the money transferred to an unknown account?

    • Default Gravatar
      JonathanOctober 6, 2017

      Hello Sakthi,

      Thank you for getting back.

      We have replied to your related inquiry through an email.

      Hope this clarifies.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

  9. Default Gravatar
    CandySeptember 22, 2017

    If someones happens to get your account information such as password routing number and account number and you change your password afterwards…can they still access your account to steal money

    • Staff
      JoanneSeptember 23, 2017Staff

      Hi Candy,

      Thanks for reaching out.
      If your password, routing number and account number got accessed, that would mean your account is now considered compromised. That is because both account and routing numbers are required to complete many basic banking transactions. If by password you mean online banking, changing the password does not change your account and routing number details. Should this happen, the best option would be for you to reach out to your bank and immediately bring to their attention that your account number and routing number has been accessed.

      Cheers,
      Joanne

  10. Default Gravatar
    VikramSeptember 22, 2017

    My account has been hacked could I know the persons phone number in which he is making transactions

    • Default Gravatar
      GruSeptember 22, 2017

      Hello Vikram Reddy.

      Thank you for reaching out to us.
      Sorry to hear that your account has been hacked.

      Unfortunately, you would not be able to obtain the phone number of the person making transactions.

      You are on the right page however, so please take time to read through the information provided to help you on what you should do when your account gets hacked.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Gru

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