What to do if your bank account is hacked Online banking makes managing finances easier, but it leaves you vulnerable to bad actors. Here are preventative measures to take to keep your accounts safe from hackers. October 25, 2023 Online banking allows you to make deposits, pay bills, and transfer money anytime—from anywhere. It’s so easy that often, you don’t even have to think about what you’re doing. Hackers know that. They count on moments of vulnerability—when you might never even notice—to break into your bank account. But that’s not their only tactic. Hackers can slip through security measures by using tricks like credential compromise and fake public Wi-Fi, and by sending out phishing emails. The threat is constant and difficult to avoid if you don’t know how to protect yourself. That’s why you need to know what to do if your bank account gets hacked. How to tell if your account has been hacked If you check your bank account balance and it seems to be missing money, there’s a strong possibility that your account has been hacked. There are other possible explanations, like a bank or merchant mistake, a check you wrote ages ago that just got cashed, or a purchase you forgot about. But if your balance suddenly and unexpectedly drops to zero or near zero, that’s almost certainly the work of hackers. A “hack” is not the same thing as being scammed, where someone tricks you into giving them money. It is also different from a situation in which your debit card is compromised, for example, if it’s lost or stolen. An account hack is on par with a home break-in: Someone sneaks into your bank account and steals your cash or account information. It might not always be obvious that your bank account was hacked. Though many hackers will deplete your funds, others take smaller amounts here and there, hoping you won’t notice. After all, you can tell immediately if your account balance drops to zero, but you might not realize if $100 is disappearing each month. That’s why you should closely monitor your transactions to make sure you really made all of them. “Scammers and hackers are everywhere looking for the easiest target. So you need to do everything you can to make it harder for them.” Bank account hacked? Take immediate steps The moment you suspect your bank account has been hacked, you need to take immediate action. Here’s what to do if your bank account is hacked: Step 1: Call your bank and report the loss—the sooner, the better. Most national banks, including Discover®, have dedicated pages on their websites that contain tips as well as contact information for reporting fraud to a specialized team. If your bank or credit union doesn’t have a fraud department, contact someone at your local branch. Step 2: Check your other online accounts, especially if you use the same password for multiple accounts. It’s possible the hackers cast a wide net and went after some of your other accounts. If you notice any issues, report them right away. Take these actions as soon as you realize your bank account was hacked. How to protect your bank account Whether or not your bank account has been hacked already, you can take proactive steps to secure it. Those start with making sure your bank offers high-level security features. For example, Discover uses Secure Socket Layer technology to encrypt your information and proactively monitor your account for fraud 24/7. Then take these steps to make it even harder for hackers to break into your bank account: Change your username and password. Use a strong, unique password, not one that you use for other logins. In some cases, fraudsters can run automated bot attacks on websites, stealing customer credentials, so it’s essential that your password is as unique as possible. Set up any monitoring features your bank offers. For example, with a Discover checking account, you can set up text and email alerts to keep tabs on transactions. You can set up customized alerts based on your spending patterns, such as a notification for any transaction more than $250. Push notifications will always come directly from the Discover mobile app, and you can also opt in to receive text and email alerts. In addition to these monitoring safeguards, it’s essential to remain hypervigilant against phishing and other email, text, or voice scams. Visit the Discover Bank Online Banking Security Center to learn more about what to watch out for. Set up fingerprint or facial ID. Many banks, including Discover, now offer biometric options for logging in to your online account or mobile app. These features help prevent access to your account on lost or stolen devices. Even with these protections in place, you should monitor your account frequently—at least a few times a week, if not daily. Paying close attention allows you to quickly catch any problems and act to limit losses. Extra steps you can take to beef up security You can learn how to protect your bank account, but that’s just the first part of hack prevention. To ensure your money is safe, you’ll want to increase total security on your devices. Steve Weisman, cybersecurity expert and editor of Scamicide.com, says, “Scammers and hackers are everywhere looking for the easiest target. So, you need to do everything you can to make it harder for them.” Weisman recommends using every possible tool, even if it feels like overkill. Taking the following precautions will make it much harder for hackers to get in: Access your accounts using only secure Wi-Fi. Make sure your wireless network is protected against outsiders. And never use public Wi-Fi when you’re checking your bank account. Consider using a VPN (virtual private network) to hide your activity, location, and identity when you’re online. Use strong security software, and keep it updated. Be wary of phishing emails, phony phone calls (vishing), and smishing texts asking you to provide personal information. If you are suspicious of an email, text, or call you have received, you can always contact your bank directly. Defend your bank accounts by taking proactive steps to thwart hackers. And if they still manage to slither in, you’ll know what steps to take to shut them down and get your money back. Open an account with a trustworthy, secure bank You want all the convenience and benefits of online and mobile banking, but you don’t want your bank account to get hacked.Choose a trusted, secure bank like Discover to help ward off hackers so you don’t lose a dime. Premium security features such as proactive fraud monitoring and sophisticated encryption technology come standard with all Discover bank accounts. Plus, you can take advantage of extra security tools like account alerts, mobile fingerprint login, and two-factor authentication. Gain peace of mind with a Discover Cashback Debit account, which comes with a dedicated security team committed to helping keep your assets safe. Articles may contain information from third parties. The inclusion of such information does not imply an affiliation with the bank or bank sponsorship, endorsement, or verification regarding the third-party or information. Share article on facebook. Share article on twitter. Share article on linked in. Share article on facebook. Share article on twitter. Share article on linked in.