With the recent Target data breach, this subject can be a huge concern for a lot of people. Working in banking for so long, I saw many clients who just simply didn’t know what to do. They were afraid. My hopes in sharing this information is not only to educate you, but to empower you, because with education comes power.
What to do when your bank account is compromised
1) If you were affected by the Target breach
You are privileged to receive one year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection through Experian. You may request an activation code at creditmonitoring.target.com before April 23, 2014. To date, no fraudulent charges have been reported in this breach!
2) Don’t fall for phishing scams.
“Verify your account” or someone died and left you $100,000. It’s all scams. I just got one an email yesterday that mimicked an Amazon order, but it went to my spam box. Tip-off #1 that it was a fake. Another time I got a phone call from a woman saying I had won a trip to a fun, well-known resort. All she wanted to know was whether my debit card was a Visa or Mastercard. Why would they need to know that? I can almost bet you, that somehow she had the other info. (debit card #, etc) and wanted to use it online, but online, you need to know whether it’s Visa or Mastercard. I did not tell her, even after her several attempts, and I lost out on the trip. I just had a bad gut feeling about it, and I researched the name of the sweepstakes she said after she hung up. There was no info. online at all about the sweepstakes she mentioned, and something that huge, there would be something somewhere! Nothing ever happened to my account, but had I given her that info……..I think I would have been in deep trouble and had money stolen.
3) Check and monitor your account
You really should be responsible and do this monthly, if not weekly anyway, but daily if you suspect fraud. Doing this for several months and looking for unauthorized charges will keep you ahead of the game, so to speak.
4) Report suspicious charges immediately.
If you should find anything suspicious, know you are protected in such cases. This is the biggest comfort I can offer. Per the law, you are not liable for unauthorized charges. Financial institutions have 48 hours to put the money back in your account of the suspicious activity while they are researching the charges. Then once the card processing company figures out if the charges were yours or not, the money either stays, or it’s given back to the bank.
5) Let the banks and debit card processors figure out if the charges were yours or not.
Don’t think that you can trick the bank. They are very good at determining this, and though I can’t go into detail of how they check, they are very thorough and very accurate. They know if a charge is yours or not. With that said, if you are unsure, you can still report it, because again, they will know.
6) Be prepared to wait
It could take up to a month for the debit card processors to do what they need to do and get back to your bank. Your bank will contact you and let you know the results.
Have you experienced you bank account being hacked? Do you have any other tips on what to do when your bank account is compromised?