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

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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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54 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    PuchaJuly 26, 2018

    My disabled daughter’s checking account was hacked in a very unique way. First, they withdrew money through the ATM, then a large false deposit was made and on the same day they retrieved the money via ATM withdrawls, thousands of dls through a branch ATM. The bank even says my daughter made numerous calls to facilitate the transaction. She never did. She never had that kind of money, the bank investigated and CLOSED the accounts and said the charges are valid. The bank even sent her a Cashier’s check with an large sum of money that doesn’t belong to her. Does the bank check their cameras, phone calls when checking for fraud, because obviously they failed to do their homework. She is not taking the check. But what else to do? Thank you.

    • finder Customer Care
      joelmarceloJuly 27, 2018Staff

      Hi Pucha,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      It looks like you have exhausted all steps to resolve this with your bank. If all steps have been made and there is no resolution, you can contact the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve urges you to file a complaint if you think a bank has been unfair or misleading, discriminated against you in lending, or violated a federal consumer protection law or regulation. You can file a complaint online through the Federal Reserve’s Consumer Complaint Form.

      You can also call or email Federal Reserve Consumer Help, the System’s central repository for consumer complaints and inquiries, and they will walk you through the process of filing a complaint and answer any questions you might have.

      Although the Federal Reserve looks into every complaint that involves banks it regulates, it does not have the authority to resolve every problem. There are several federal agencies who handle complaints about banks and other financial institutions, so the Federal Reserve may connect you with or forward your complaint to another federal regulator.

      I hope this gets resolved soon Pucha.

      Cheers,
      Joel

  2. Default Gravatar
    MalloryJuly 26, 2018

    I was hacked. I’ve contacted the police and they’re tracking him down. He was a scam loan person trying to sell me on a loan and now he has all my banking info and my bank app he’s hacked it. I don’t know what to do. I have contacted the authorities. Any other advice please let me know

    • finder Customer Care
      joelmarceloJuly 27, 2018Staff

      Hi Mallory,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      It looks like you have exhausted all steps to resolve this with your bank. If all steps have been made and there is no resolution, you can contact the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve urges you to file a complaint if you think a bank has been unfair or misleading, discriminated against you in lending, or violated a federal consumer protection law or regulation. You can file a complaint online through the Federal Reserve’s Consumer Complaint Form.

      You can also call or email Federal Reserve Consumer Help, the System’s central repository for consumer complaints and inquiries, and they will walk you through the process of filing a complaint and answer any questions you might have.

      Although the Federal Reserve looks into every complaint that involves banks it regulates, it does not have the authority to resolve every problem. There are several federal agencies who handle complaints about banks and other financial institutions, so the Federal Reserve may connect you with or forward your complaint to another federal regulator.

      I hope this gets resolved soon Mallory.

      Cheers,
      Joel

  3. Default Gravatar
    KimberlyJuly 24, 2018

    If my bank account is frozen what can I do if my creditors are needing to pay me and usually use my bank

    • finder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoJuly 24, 2018Staff

      Hi Kimberly!

      Thanks for getting in touch.

      I’m afraid no transactions (deposits/withdrawals) can be made while an account is frozen. You may opt to open a new account for the meantime so you can gain access of your funds from creditors.

      Hope this helps!

      Nikki

  4. Default Gravatar
    ChrisJuly 16, 2018

    My girlfriend account was hacked and they took her money she filed fraud and bank froze account gave her a new card and refunded the money. However they issued the refund to the same account that was compromised and the money was stolen again and even put her in the negative and now they want to go after her for the money when it is their fault. For a bank to put the refund into an account that was already compromised has to be the dumbest move I have ever seen. What can we do about this ? I’m thinking about getting her to get records of all transactions that month and going to the police to file a charge . Or calling corporate and telling them this proof we have and telling them if they don’t fix it we will be filing charges on them. Please give me advice thank you . Email me would be perfect !

    • finder Customer Care
      joelmarceloJuly 20, 2018Staff

      Hi Chris,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      I’m sorry you had to go through this. The Federal Reserve urges you to file a complaint if you think a bank has been unfair or misleading, discriminated against you in lending, or violated a federal consumer protection law or regulation. You can file a complaint online through the Federal Reserve’s Consumer Complaint Form in their website. I hope this gets resolved soon.

      Cheers,
      Joel

  5. Default Gravatar
    MirmirJuly 1, 2018

    I was in hospital and my stepdaughter stole 30,000 from my line of credit. The bank said it was friendly fraud and I was responsible even know she got the bank to change all my passwords. She was charged last week with grand larceny. Who is responsible for my money that is missing?

    • finder Customer Care
      JoanneJuly 2, 2018Staff

      Hi Mirmir,

      Thanks for reaching out.

      I’m sorry to hear that you got fraud charges on your account. Generally, when a bank denies a claim, the next options include filing a claim with small claims court or filing a police report and seeking assistance from the authorities on how you can possibly get your money back. You may also want to check back with your bank so they can give advice on the other steps you can take if they considered your case a friendly fraud.

      You may need to go to the branch and present valid IDs for you to gain access to your accounts as she has changed your passwords. Your bank will provide the next steps that can be done with regard to protecting your accounts.

      Best Regards,
      Joanne

  6. Default Gravatar
    NdavidMay 15, 2018

    My bank account was hacked and they managed to increase my overdraft as well as take everything out of my account leaving me overdrawn. I received a txt from the bank but it took an hour to get through to the bank. In that time the overdraft was increased . My SIM card has been cloned. Will I get my money back?

    • finder Customer Care
      JoshuaMay 16, 2018Staff

      Hi Ndavid,

      Thanks for getting in touch with finder.

      I’m sorry to hear about what had happened to your bank account. It’s an unpleasant experience to get your account hacked.

      Thankfully, if your bank finds the transaction to be fraudulent, you should be refunded the missing money. Thus, the best course of action is to directly get in touch with your bank immediately and resolve the problem with them.

      You might also want to read, “How can hackers steal your credit card CVV number?” This should give you more knowledge on how to avoid future problems with your bank account.

      I hope this helps. Should you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach us out again.

      Have a wonderful day!

      Cheers,
      Joshua

  7. Default Gravatar
    TalhiaApril 20, 2018

    How long do you have to recover stolen my from your bank account

    • finder Customer Care
      joelmarceloApril 21, 2018Staff

      Hi Talhia,

      Thanks for leaving a question on finder.

      Sorry to hear about that. Please note that you may or may not be able to get a refund for as the bank will have to investigate first if you have done reasonable measures to protect your account. Refund differs from bank to bank but it is usually within 60 days. It would be best to contact your bank to get a more direct answer.

      Cheers,
      Joel

  8. 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?

    • finder Customer Care
      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

  9. Default Gravatar
    GeorgeApril 11, 2018

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

    • finder Customer Care
      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

  10. 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

    • finder Customer Care
      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

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