What to do if your bank account is hacked
If you notice any strange or unusual activity on your bank statement, freeze your card and notify your bank immediately.
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What to do if your bank account has been hacked
- Freeze or block your card. Many mobile banking apps and Internet banking portals have a card-freezing feature which allows you to temporarily freeze or block your debit card from making transactions. If you can do this with your account, do this right away to prevent any further purchases by the hacker.
- Notify the bank. Call you bank and tell them you suspect your account has been hacked. If you haven't already done so, they'll be able to freeze your account to prevent further purchases.
- Block pending transactions. The bank may also be able to block any purchases that are still pending, so check your transaction history for pending purchases made by the hacker.
- Check your other accounts. It's a good idea to check your other accounts if you have any (e.g.: joint bank accounts, credit cards) to make sure these haven't been hacked as well. For extra safety, update your account passwords and/or PINs.
How will you know if you’ve been hacked?
Strange purchases that appear on your bank statement may be the first clue that a hacker has got into your account. Make a habit of checking your transaction history regularly in your mobile banking app, or ready your bank statements.
Sometimes the people that steal your card will make seemingly insignificant purchases to test and see if your card works before going to larger transactions. So make sure you don't disregard any small transactions that you don't remember making - these could be by a hacker.
For larger purchases, your bank may notify you of suspicious activity and automatically cancel fraudulent charges.
Lost or stolen card numbers
Don’t wait for your bank to realise. It's your account, so you're in charge of managing it. Check it regularly in order to avoid a mishap.
The first step the bank will take is freezing your account so no-one can access it. If you go to your local bank branch, they will give you a temporary card, otherwise it will be sent to you in the mail.
Most banks will refund your lost money after you complete a form admitting that you didn't take part in the theft.
Are banks liable if I've been hacked?
If a hacker steals any funds from a bank, the bank is liable to pay the money back to the customer. However, it may be difficult to prove that you weren't party at fault (e.g.: if you've been careless with your account, you may not be eligible for a refund).
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. Rest assured, 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. You can then skip several layers of security the next time you log in since the bank recognises 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.
Make sure that you take precautions when banking online.
Beware of social engineering
Email software is pretty good at getting rid of spam the majority 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. In reality, this could be a scam and the hacker has designed a site that mimics your bank's website. If something like this happens to you, don't enter your details such as a password unless you're sure it's a secure website.
You can often verify a website's validity since the Internet monitors the security certificate of that said website, so your mind can be at ease.
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 the transactions came from overseas, or you're currently overseas – you will definitely need to block the card and lodge a dispute investigation. Before you go on holiday, it's always handy to have a list of phone numbers on hand 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, it will most likely refund the money.
Banks may have some flaws, but security software is constantly being improved to reflect the shared interests of the shareholders and customers. Check out our bank account comparison to find the right bank account for you today.
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