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- 1 What To Do If Your Bank Account Is Hacked
- 2 How Do Bank Accounts Get Hacked?
- 3 How To Prevent An Attack?
- 3.1 1. Use strong, unique passwords
- 3.2 2. Be cautious when providing personal information online
- 3.3 3. Watch out for phishing scams
- 3.4 4. Keep your computer and mobile devices secure
- 3.5 5. Use two-factor authentication
- 3.6 6. Regularly monitor your bank account
- 3.7 7. Use a credit monitoring service
- 3.8 8. Be careful with public wifi:
- 4 Remain Calm And Alert
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
As a whole, banks have the most stringent safety measures of any industry. However, no security method is infallible, and sometimes, a user’s bank account will be compromised. You may feel concerned and worried, but there are several things you need to learn and do right now.
In general the risk of a bank account being hacked can be significantly reduced by using strong and unique passwords, being cautious when providing personal information online, and regularly monitoring your account for suspicious activity.
Additionally, many banks offer additional security measures such as two-factor authentication and security tokens, which can greatly reduce the risk of a hack. Despite these security measures, bank account hacking still happens, and it’s always good to be vigilant and aware of the signs of a possible hack, so you can take action immediately.
In this article, we will take a look at the steps you should take if your account ever gets hacked.
What To Do If Your Bank Account Is Hacked
If your account has been hacked or you suspect some form of fraudulent activity, there are a few things that you need to do straight away. One of the most important things is to move fast. The faster you move, the less your overall liabilities are going to be. Let’s jump straight into it.
Step 1: Freeze your card or account
Freezing your bank account is a process that temporarily suspends all transactions on the account, including withdrawals, deposits, and transfers. This can be a useful tool to prevent unauthorized access to your funds in the event that your account is hacked or your information is stolen.
To freeze your bank account, you will need to contact your bank or financial institution directly. You can do this by visiting a local branch, calling the bank’s customer service number, or logging into your account online.
When you contact your bank, you will be required to provide some personal information to verify your identity, such as your name, address, and account number. The bank may also ask for additional information, such as a copy of your ID or a signed letter.
Once your bank confirms your identity, they will freeze your account and prevent any transactions from occurring. Some banks may charge a fee to freeze your account.
Keep in mind that freezing your account will prevent you from making transactions or accessing your funds while the account is frozen. So, plan accordingly and consider alternative ways to access your funds if you need them.
It’s important to note that freezing your bank account is different from closing your account. Freezing the account will only temporarily suspend the transactions and the account still exists, once the freeze is lifted, you can use the account normally.
Step 2: Identify suspicious activity
Now that you have frozen your account, no money can come in or go out. As such, we now need to move fast to avoid any incoming payments getting delayed. In this step, you need to identify the suspicious activity linked to your account.
Suspicious activities can take on many forms, including:
- You see transactions that you do not recognize
- Money is missing from your account
- You receive a call or message asking you for banking information or your SSN (Social Security Number)
- You receive an alert from your bank that money was withdrawn
While not all these activities mean your account was hacked, any of them should raise alarm bells.You can use your bank statements, mobile banking app, or internet banking to detect these activities. Take a note of those activities that stand out and proceed to step 3.
It is essential to do this straight away and avoid putting it off. Even though your card is frozen, the more you wait, the more your liability increases.Get it sorted and out of the way immediately to ensure you’re covered as much as possible.
READ MORE: See our review for the identity theft protection services listed below.
Step 3: Contact the bank
Now it’s time to contact the bank. Bigger banks might have a dedicated phone number for reporting fraudulent activity. Smaller regional banks may not have a dedicated line for reporting fraudulent activity but you may get more personal attention.
Either way, the operator should be able to direct your call to the right person with ease. Refer to your bank’s contact us web page for the relevant contact details.
The critical thing to know here is that your maximum liability will be lower the sooner you report theft. Federal law dictates what your maximum liability can be depending on the timeframes involved.
Use the below table as a general guide to what your maximum liability may be:
|Report by||Your maximum liability|
|Before any money is taken out||$0|
|Within two business days of noticing fraudulent activity||$50|
|Less than 60 days from receiving the bank statement but more than two days of noticing fraudulent activity||$500|
|More than 60 days after receiving the bank statement||Full amount|
The bank will help you with the exact steps you need to take, including canceling any debit cards and credit cards and ordering a new card.
Step 4: Submit a claim
Unless you have already done so, you will need to submit a claim for reimbursement of any money stolen from your account. In most cases, you can do this directly with your bank that holds the account or card from which the hacker stole money.
As mentioned earlier, time is critical, so make sure you move fast. Since procedures might vary from one bank to the next, it is best to check on the bank’s website for the exact procedure or give them a call.
READ MORE: Find the best bank sign-up bonuses here.
Step 5: Check your credit report
When your bank account is hacked, it is important to check your credit report for any unauthorized activity or suspicious transactions. This is because hackers may use your stolen information to open credit accounts or take out loans in your name.
You can check your credit report for free once a year from the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. You can request a report from each bureau separately or you can use the website annualcreditreport.com to request all three at once.
When reviewing your credit report, look for any accounts or transactions that you do not recognize. If you find any suspicious activity, it’s important to contact the credit bureau and the financial institution involved immediately. Additionally, you may want to consider placing a fraud alert or credit freeze on your credit report to prevent further unauthorized activity.
It’s also important to keep monitoring your credit report, even after you’ve taken steps to resolve any suspicious activity, to ensure that your credit report remains accurate and that no new unauthorized activity appears.
In addition to checking your credit report, you should also check your bank account statements and credit card statements for any unauthorized transactions. If you find any suspicious activity, contact your bank or credit card issuer immediately to report the issue and take steps to protect your account.
READ MORE: Best Credit Monitoring Services
Step 6: Report identity theft
If you suspect that your bank account has been hacked or your personal information has been stolen, it’s important to report the identity theft as soon as possible.
In the previous steps outlined above, you’ve already contacted your bank and the major credit bureaus. Here are a couple other agencies to contact to report identity theft:
- The FTC: File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC): The FTC’s Identity Theft website provides resources and a complaint form to help you report identity theft.
- Your local police department: File a police report and provide them with all the information you have on the identity theft, including any unauthorized transactions on your bank account and any suspicious emails or phone calls you’ve received.
Remember to keep records. Keep a log of all the steps you take to report the identity theft, including the names and phone numbers of the people you speak with, the dates of your conversations, and any reference numbers you receive.
It’s important to act quickly and take all the necessary steps to report the identity theft and protect your personal information. These steps will help to minimize the damage and prevent the identity thief from using your personal information for fraudulent activities.
How Do Bank Accounts Get Hacked?
There are several ways that banks can get hacked:
- Phishing scams: Hackers often use phishing emails or text messages to trick individuals into providing sensitive information such as login credentials or account numbers.
- Malware: Malicious software can be used to infect a computer or mobile device and steal login information or other sensitive data.
- Social engineering: Hackers may use social engineering tactics, such as impersonating a bank representative or using insider information, to gain access to sensitive information.
- Remote access: Hackers may use remote access tools to gain unauthorized access to a bank’s network and steal sensitive information.
- Outdated software: Banks that fail to keep their software and systems updated are at a higher risk of being hacked, as outdated software may contain known vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers.
- Insider threat: An insider threat can be an employee, contractor, or vendor that has access to the bank’s network and uses that access to steal sensitive information or disrupt the bank’s operations.
It’s important to note that despite banks having sophisticated security measures in place, they can still be vulnerable to hacking attacks. Banks are constantly monitoring and updating their security measures to protect against new threats and vulnerabilities.
How To Prevent An Attack?
Getting hacked is by and large outside of your control. Even so, there is a lot that you can do on your end to minimize the risk.
Here are several steps you can take to prevent a bank hack and protect your personal information:
1. Use strong, unique passwords
Use a combination of letters, numbers, and special characters in your passwords and avoid using easily guessed information such as your name or birthdate.
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2. Be cautious when providing personal information online
Do not provide personal information, such as account numbers or Social Security numbers, to unknown individuals or unsecured websites.
3. Watch out for phishing scams
Be wary of unsolicited emails or text messages that ask for personal information or login credentials.
For further reading, check out this article: The Most Dangerous Credit Card Scams To Watch For. The main subject of this article relates to credit cards but the same scamming techniques are relevant.
4. Keep your computer and mobile devices secure
Keep your computer and mobile devices protected with up-to-date anti-virus software and a firewall.
READ MORE: Cylance AI-Powered Antivirus Review
5. Use two-factor authentication
Use an additional method of authentication, such as a fingerprint or security token, when logging into your bank account.
6. Regularly monitor your bank account
Regularly check your bank account for any suspicious activity and report any unauthorized transactions immediately.
7. Use a credit monitoring service
Consider using a credit monitoring service to keep track of your credit report and alert you to any suspicious activity.
READ MORE: Credit Karma Free Credit Score Review
8. Be careful with public wifi:
Be careful when using public wifi as it can be a place where hackers can steal your information. Use a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your connection.
READ MORE: Efani Encrypted Sim Card Review
By following these steps, you can reduce the risk of a bank hack and protect your personal information. However, it’s always good to be aware of the signs of a hack, so you can take action immediately if you suspect that your account has been compromised.
Remain Calm And Alert
Staying calm after your bank account has been hacked is important in order to take the appropriate steps to minimize the damage and protect your personal information. Here are some tips for staying calm:
- Don’t panic: Realize that this is a common problem and that there are steps you can take to resolve it.
- Gather all the information: Make a list of all unauthorized transactions and note down the date, time and amount of each transaction.
- Contact your bank: Inform your bank or financial institution of the unauthorized activity on your account and close the account to prevent further unauthorized transactions.
- Document everything: Keep a log of all the steps you take to report the identity theft, including the names and phone numbers of the people you speak with, the dates of your conversations, and any reference numbers you receive.
- Take care of yourself: Remember to take care of yourself physically and emotionally. The stress of identity theft can take a toll on your mental and physical health.
- Learn from the experience: Use this experience as an opportunity to improve your security practices and take steps to protect your personal information in the future.
By remaining calm and taking the appropriate steps to resolve the issue, you can minimize the damage and protect your personal information. Remember that you are not alone and that there are resources available to help you through this difficult time.
Frequently Asked Questions
When your bank account has been hacked, it can be accessed in a number of ways. First, always turn on notifications if your mobile banking app supports them. Investigate suspicious notifications and report them to your bank promptly. Access your checking and savings account transaction histories with the mobile app or internet banking. The app is more up-to-date than paper bank statements, so there’s no need to wait to view transactions. Once again, if you don’t want to be responsible for any losses, report suspicious behavior right away.
In most cases, you will be refunded in full. If you suspect a fraudulent charge or transaction, however, you must report it immediately. When you put off taking action, you expose yourself to greater risk. If you wait more than six months to disclose the hacking incidence, you may not receive any compensation at all.
Online banking accounts can be hacked in several ways, such as phishing scams, malware, social engineering, remote access, outdated software, weak passwords, public wifi and keyloggers. To prevent these hacks, it’s important to use strong, unique passwords, be cautious when providing personal information online, regularly monitor your account for suspicious activity, and consider using two-factor authentication or a security token. Additionally, be vigilant and be aware of the signs of a hack, so you can take action immediately if you suspect that your account has been compromised.