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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 every day, 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 your bank account has been hacked

  • Strange purchases. Seeing activity that’s out of the ordinary may be the first clue that a hacker has infiltrated your account. Keep an eye out for transactions made in other locations where you haven’t been.
  • Unfamiliar transactions. Sometimes you’ll notice seemingly small, yet unfamiliar purchases. Thieves often do that to test if your card will work before making larger ones.
  • Blocked login. If a hacker accesses your account from an unfamiliar location or tries your password too many times, your account may block you from logging in.
  • Phone call from your bank. If your account is compromised, your bank may call to notify you of the recent breach. However, it’s essential that you don’t provide the caller with any personal information.
  • Closed or emptied account. In more extreme cases, you may find that your bank account has been emptied or closed altogether.
  • Denied card. If your account is compromised, your account could be emptied or your card could be frozen by your bank, leading to denied transactions.

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

What to do if your bank account is hacked

Having your bank account hacked is stressful but the good news is that you probably won’t lose your money. Here’s what you should do as soon if you believe your account’s been hacked:

View and verify account activity. First off, you should go through your account activity to confirm any fraudulent charges. Some legitimate transactions may seem fraudulent if the company does business under a different name.

Call your bank. Once you’ve confirmed that your account has been hacked, you should call your bank to report the fraud. They can help you solve the issue and possibly return funds to your account.

  • Ally: 1-800-971-6037
  • Bank of America: 800-432-1000
  • Barclays: 888-710-8756
  • BBVA Compass: 1-800-266-7277
  • Chase: 1-800-935-9935
  • Citi: 1-800-374-9700
  • Discover: 1-877-737-1931
  • PNC Bank: 1-888-762-2265
  • Synchrony: 877-295-2080
  • TD Bank: 1-888-751-9000
  • USAA: 1-877-762-7256
  • Wells Fargo: 1-800-869-3557

Freeze your account. If possible, freeze your bank account online, on the app or by speaking with customer service.

Change your pins and passwords. Change your bank account pin to something entirely different and secure. Also, consider changing the passwords to your online banking account, email and other online accounts, and try not to use the same password.

Check your credit history. If your bank account is hacked, it’s possible that the hacker tried to open a credit card in your name. Speak with your bank to find out if they can check your credit history for free.

File a police report. Finally, consider filing a police report. It’s unlikely that you’ll have any information on the person who hacked you, but reports from multiple victims could increase the chances of the thief being caught.

What to do if you don’t agree with your bank’s fraud resolution

In most cases, you won’t be liable for funds lost due to hacking and fraud. However, if you don’t agree with your bank’s fraud resolution, here’s what you can do:

  1. Keep a record of all communications with your bank
  2. Speak with the fraud department directly
  3. Escalate your case to a manager or supervisor
  4. File a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
  5. If all else fails, you can consider taking legal action

Types of bank account hacking and fraud

  • Weak passwords. Using simple, easy to guess passwords can put your accounts at risk to software or people simply guessing your password.
  • Fraudulent texts and phone calls. Beware of any emails or phone calls from numbers claiming to be your bank. They might just be looking to steal your information to access your account.
  • Phishing links. Watch out for unfamiliar links in emails or while browsing online. While they might look legitimate, these links and websites and designed to look official to trick you into entering your information.
  • Malware. This type of virus can be picked up from sketchy websites and emails, infecting your computer and possibly intercepting your information and passwords.
  • Leaks. Websites and banks affected by security breaches can allow unauthorized people to access your info. It’s essential that you use different passwords for all of your online accounts. Otherwise, a breach on one website could affect all of your online accounts.
  • Public wifi. Avoid logging into your bank account on public wifi, as hackers could use the public connection to intercept your information and access your accounts.
  • Social engineering. Some hackers will go the extra mile to access your information by calling your bank and impersonating you. And since most banks will use your personal information to verify your identity, it’s important to not give your personal information to strangers.
  • Card scanners. These devices, when placed over an existing, legitimate card scanner, will take a picture of your card and could record your pin. When using an ATM in an unfamiliar location, wiggle the card socket to check for a fraudulent card scanner.

How to prevent bank account hacking

Stay safe online

  • 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.
  • Run antivirus and anti-malware software. Doing so could end up preventing computer viruses and losing your information.
  • Beware of spam. Email software is pretty good at getting rid of spam most of the time. However, hackers design sites that mimic bank websites, so random emails that ask you to go to the bank’s website to confirm your information are most likely a scam.

Use strong passwords

  • Don’t use the same passwords. Avoid using the same passwords for multiple online accounts. Otherwise, a security breach on one website could compromise all of your accounts.
  • 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.
  • Strong security questions. The answers to your security questions won’t be verified, so you can choose any answer you’d like. Consider making the questions difficult or the answers harder to guess.
  • Two-factor authentication. If possible, consider signing up for two-factor authentication. This security measure will require you to confirm your identity with your phone or email, decreasing the chances of unauthorized access.
  • Use more characters — and symbols — in your password. The more characters in your password, the better. A mix of random letters, numbers and special characters will take much longer to crack than a simple word or series of numbers.

Be vigilant

  • Report suspicious activity. Report any suspicious people or unverifiable companies soliciting your banking information. You may also want to contact your bank.
  • Double-check your transactions. Look over your statements for any fraudulent purchases, and report anything suspicious right away.
  • 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. The chances of your house being robbed are higher than a bank losing your money due to cybercrime.
  • Keep an eye on your credit history. If someone gets access to your bank account, they could sign up for credit cards and other financial products that would affect your credit. Check your credit history if you think your account is at risk.
  • Sign up for text alerts. Apps and text alerts can send you a notification whenever your debit card is used. This can help you track spending and immediately know where and when your card is used.

How can hackers steal your credit card CVV number?

How banks keep your accounts 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 refund money for fraudulent debit transactions. However, it’s important you report fraud as soon as possible, as the bank’s liability decreases over time.

If you report a lost or stolen card immediately and before it’s used, you can’t be held liable for any charges. If you report a charge within 48 hours, you could be responsible for up to $50, or up to $500 if you wait longer than two days. Beyond 60 days, your bank is no longer responsible for the lost funds and you might be out any money that was stolen.

Banks are improving security

Since banks are constantly under attack, they need to ensure every aspect of their security is up to date. This means that they generally 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.

However, malware is a tool that hackers use to imitate your IPv4 address in order to gain access to your bank account. And since you usually won’t know that they have control over your computer, it’s best to disable the “remember your computer” feature.

Your guide to finding a bank account that meets your needs

Bottom line

Having your bank account hacked is no laughing matter. But as stressful as it may be, there’s a good chance you’ll get your money back as long as you act fast. Banks are generally responsible for any charges due to cybersecurity breaches, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared. There are a number of things you can do to reduce the chances of your bank account being hacked, and choosing the right bank is one of them. Compare your options to find a bank and account that meet your needs.

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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56 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    GigiNovember 25, 2018

    My daughter lost her debit card. Her acct was hacked. They deposited large amounts of money with bad checks then withdrew the money. Now the bank is saying they found no fraudulent activity……what does this mean?

    • finder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoNovember 26, 2018Staff

      Hi Gigi,

      Thanks for getting in touch! Sorry to hear that your daughter’s card got lost. If someone was able to deposit and withdraw money in her account this means that the account has been compromised and all your daughter’s personal details have been accessed. It’s important to let the bank know of this to know of the next steps to take.

      Hope this helps!

      Best,
      Nikki

  2. 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.

    • Default Gravatar
      joelmarceloJuly 27, 2018

      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

  3. 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

    • Default Gravatar
      joelmarceloJuly 27, 2018

      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

  4. 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

  5. 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 !

    • Default Gravatar
      joelmarceloJuly 20, 2018

      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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. Default Gravatar
    TalhiaApril 20, 2018

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

    • Default Gravatar
      joelmarceloApril 21, 2018

      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

  9. 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?

    • Default Gravatar
      joelmarceloApril 17, 2018

      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

  10. Default Gravatar
    GeorgeApril 11, 2018

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

    • Default Gravatar
      joelmarceloApril 12, 2018

      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

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