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What should I do if my bank account is hacked?

If you notice any unusual activity, notify your bank immediately.

Cyber attacks on banks happen all too frequently. Thankfully, most banks are well protected against hackers, and the threat of a cyber attack shouldn’t deter you from using a financial institution.

But should your hard-earned money be compromised, here’s how to regain control of your account.

What to do if your bank account is hacked

If you believe your account has been hacked, there are a few important steps you should take:

1. View and verify account activity. First, 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.

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

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

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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. If caught, they could face fines up to $1 million or go to prison for up to 30 years.

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

Signs your bank account has been hacked

Keep a close eye on these warning signs that your account could be compromised:

  • Strange purchases. Seeing activity that’s out of the ordinary may be the first clue that a hacker has infiltrated your account. Watch for transactions made in locations where you haven’t been.
  • Unfamiliar transactions. Sometimes you’ll notice 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.

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’s calling or writing first before providing any information.
  • Run antivirus and anti-malware software. Doing so could prevent computer viruses and the loss of your information.
  • Beware of spam. Email software is effective 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, 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, sign 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.
  • 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?

Types of bank account hacking and fraud

Knowing the weak spots that hackers look for and the tricks they use can go a long way in protecting you from cyber theft:

  • Weak passwords. Using simple, easy to guess passwords can put your accounts at risk.
  • 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 are 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 Wi-Fi. Avoid logging into your bank account on public Wi-Fi, 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.

Compare banks that offer fraud protection

Compare these nine bank accounts to see what fraud protections they come with.

Name Product Fraud protection features
TD Convenience Checking℠
TD Bank offers these security measures:

  • Speech recognition technology that verifies your identity when you’re on the phone with its representatives

  • Two-step sign-in authentication

  • Account security alerts

  • 24/7 fraud monitoring on debit cards

  • Zero liability for unauthorized purchases


Chase Total Checking®
Get free Account Alerts on unauthorized withdrawals and suspicious activity, with personalized text, phone or email notifications. You can opt-in for it’s two-factor authentication to verify your identity on devices it doesn’t recognize for added protection.
Citibank® Account Package
Citibank® Account Package
Set up text or email account alerts to stay on top of your money and report any fishy transactions. Citibank will freeze your account and investigate when you call to report suspicious activity. Citibank promises to cover the following losses:

  • Unauthorized transfers in your Citibank account

  • Loss of interest and overdraft or returned check fees that you may incur from the illegal withdrawal or transfer.


If your identity is stolen, Citi offers expert help to minimize the damage and help you reclaim your identity at no additional cost for Citibank checking and savings account members.
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Compare up to 4 providers

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 since the bank is liable to refund money for fraudulent debit transactions. However, it’s important to 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 they generally have the latest software designed to protect you and your money.

Ensure your account is not vulnerable

Most banking websites allow you to activate a feature called “remember your password” when you log in online. 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

As stressful as having your bank account hacked may be, there’s a chance you could get your money back if you act fast. Banks are generally responsible for any charges due to cybersecurity breaches, but you should still always 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.

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58 Responses

    Default Gravatar
    KamalpreetJune 12, 2019

    My account is hacked by fraud i report to bank do they refund money

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      nikkiangcoJune 12, 2019Staff

      Hi Kamal,

      Thanks for getting in touch!

      We’re sorry to hear your account has been hacked. Immediately contact your bank so they can start an investigation. Regarding refunding your money, this will depend on the bank’s investigation and if your account has been proven compromised.
      Hope this helps!

      Best,
      Nikki

    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?

      Avatarfinder 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

    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

    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

    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

      Avatarfinder 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

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