Your Bank Account Has Been Hacked & Money Is Missing: What Next?

Having your bank account hacked is devastating. Learn from experts how to spot if your account has been hacked and steps to recover and protect yourself in the future. 
Written by Kevin Payne
Financial Expert
Managing Editor
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Technology has changed the way people interact with and manage their finances. These useful advances have come with new security threats, including bank account hacking.

According to the FBI’s Internet Crime Report 2023, The FBI received 880,418 complaints of cybercrime, a 10% increase from the previous year. This represented a potential total loss of $12.5 billion for Americans, a 22% increase from 2022.

These statistics represent the battle against a range of cybercrimes. Having your bank account hacked is different from other forms of fraud.

Hacking doesn’t involve being scammed or tricked into giving someone money. It occurs when your debit card or bank account is compromised, giving someone else access to your account information and funds. 

It’s vital to act swiftly if your bank account is hacked to reduce potential financial losses and other damage.

Learn how to determine if your account was hacked, what to do if it happens, and steps to take for recovery and prevention. 

How To Tell If a Cybercriminal Has Hacked Your Bank Account 

There are some tell-tale signs to look for to determine if your bank account has been hacked.

Some signs are easier to spot than others, so it’s essential to monitor your bank accounts and financial information.

Here are some ways you can tell if you’ve been a victim of a bank account hack.

The Emotional Impact of a Hacked Bank Account 

“The frequency and sophistication of bank account hacking have reached alarming levels, leaving countless victims financially devastated and emotionally scarred,” said Abid Salahi, cofounder and software engineer at FinlyWealth.

When it happens, it’s natural to feel a wave of emotions, from shock, fear, and vulnerability to anger, outrage, and frustration.

“I recall a harrowing incident involving a close friend whose bank account was compromised through a phishing scam, said Salahi. “The hackers siphoned off thousands of dollars, leaving him in dire financial straits,” Salahi said. “This incident highlighted the importance of robust security measures, both on the part of financial institutions and individual consumers.”

Unfortunately, there’s often little time to process the experience before you jump into action to secure your information and try to recover any lost funds. 

What To Do If Your Bank Account Is Hacked

Act quickly if your bank account has been compromised.

The sooner you act, the quicker you can recover your account and any funds you may have lost. Below are actions you should take if your bank account gets hacked. 

Contact Your Bank Immediately

Adhiran Thirmal, cybersecurity solutions expert and senior solutions engineer of Security Compass, advises that you notify your bank or financial institution immediately when you suspect your account has been hacked or report suspicious activity.

He said, “This is the golden rule. Delay can cost you dearly.”

Call the number on the back of your debit card or look it up on the bank’s official website, but do not rely on emails or text messages claiming to be from your bank.

Many banks have dedicated support teams or phone lines for reporting fraud. “Explain the situation clearly and request to freeze your account to prevent further unauthorized transactions,” said Thirmal.

Report Fraudulent Transactions

“Work with your bank to identify and report any unauthorized transactions. This helps them investigate and potentially recover stolen funds, advises Thirmal. He said its important to collect documentation and evidence like suspicious transactions, emails, or text messages you have received.

The quicker you report unauthorized transactions, the lower your liability as the account holder.

If you report within 48 hours of the transaction, your maximum liability is limited to $50.

If you wait longer to report, you may not recover lost funds. The bank may freeze or close your account while investigating fraud claims. 

Secure Your Online Presence

Thirmal recommends that once your account is frozen, update your online banking login credentials such as username, password, and any security questions. He advises, “Avoid using easily guessable information or the same credentials across different accounts.”

Be sure strong, unique passwords.

If you use the same password for multiple accounts, go ahead and change those, too. Once hackers have your information, they may try to access other accounts.

Verify your contact information hasn’t been altered in case your bank contacts you when you change your password as part of its multi-factor authentication. 

Freeze Your Credit and Monitor for Fraud

If your bank account is hacked, thieves may use your information to open a credit card.

Protect yourself by freezing your credit or placing a fraud alert on your credit report. You can do this with all three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Once you’ve protected your credit, check your credit report for recently opened lines of credit that don’t look familiar. Ensure that the information listed on your credit report is accurate.

You can access a free copy of your credit report from the three major credit bureaus by visiting

Work with the Authorities

In addition to reporting issues to your bank, you can report identity theft and fraud to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). You can file a report with the FTC online at or by calling 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338).

One of the primary benefits of filing a fraud report with the FTC is a personalized recovery plan based on the information you provide.

This plan includes detailed steps to secure your identity and repair the damage.

The FTC also provides copies of your FTC Identity Theft Report and letter templates if you need to submit a dispute form over unauthorized transactions. 

You can also file a report with your local police department.

They may not be able to track down the person who hacked your account, but having a report on file can help as you dispute unauthorized bank transactions.

Follow guidance from the authorities on any next steps to recover and restore your accounts and identity. 

Find a Checking Account You Trust

If you have doubts about the security features of your checking account, it never hurts to compare it with others.

Check out some of our top checking account picks for those who want a secure account with little or no fees and the convenience of online banking.

How to Protect Yourself from Bank Account Hacks

Whether you’ve fallen victim to a hacker or realized the importance of protecting your financial accounts, take steps to protect your account, information, and finances from future attacks.

Here are some ways you can increase security around your bank accounts. 

Strengthen Your Cybersecurity Practices

Start by using stronger, more complex passwords that combine upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols.

Avoid reusing the same password for multiple accounts.

Also, consider changing your passwords occasionally. If you have difficulty remembering passwords, consider using a password manager service. 

Enable two-factor authentication (2FA/MFA)

This extra layer of security requires a second verification code in addition to your password, making it harder for someone to hack.

Your financial institution will typically send your verification code via text, email, or an authentication app. 

Thirmal explains, “MFA adds a crucial layer of security beyond your password. Enable it on your bank account and any other sensitive online accounts.”

Use a secure network

Protect yourself further by only accessing your bank and financial accounts from a secure WiFi network. Never use public WiFi to check your bank accounts.

“Public Wi-Fi networks are not secure, said Thirmal. “Avoid accessing your bank account or other sensitive information on public Wi-Fi. If you must, consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to encrypt your connection.”

Additionally, if your bank or device offers additional security measures, like fingerprint or facial recognition, take advantage of them. 

Keep up with software updates

Don’t skip over the software updates that pop up on your mobile devices.

Often, these updates include patches for security holes that hackers may exploit.

“Outdated software can have vulnerabilities that hackers exploit, explains Thirmal. “Regularly update your operating system, web browser, and any security software you use.”

If it’s hard to remember to update, turn on automatic software updates so your device automatically installs when a new software update is released. 

Monitor Your Accounts Regularly

Regularly check bank transactions for suspicious activity. You can do this by reviewing your bank statements, but it may be too late.

The quickest way to monitor your transactions is through your online account or the bank’s mobile app.

Enable any monitoring services available through your bank for another set of eyes. Turn on account notifications to receive real-time alerts if the bank notices suspicious activity. 

Use Antiphishing Tools and Services

Beware of phishing scams, such as suspicious emails, texts, or phone calls asking you to provide personal information.

Thirmal said, “Phishing emails and text messages try to trick you into revealing your login credentials or clicking on malicious links that can download malware. Don’t click on suspicious links or attachments, and never enter your bank information on websites you don’t trust.”

Consider using antiphishing software, which can help detect and filter out suspicious emails and phishing attempts from your inbox.

Antiphishing tools can also alert you of potentially unsafe websites. These types of tools and services can help keep you from being exploited online.

Consider Identity Theft Protection Services

If you want more protection, consider working with a company specializing in identity theft protection services. 

These companies help protect your personal and financial information, such as your social security number, home address, phone numbers, financial accounts, and credit files.

Identity theft protection services offer additional support through insurance, recovery services, and security alerts. 

Rebuild Your Financial Health and Confidence

Hopefully, you never have to deal with the hassle and potential financial loss associated with having a bank account hacked.

If that’s the case, move swiftly to report suspicious activity and secure your accounts and personal information. 

As Salahi explained, “The fight against bank account hacking requires a collaborative effort between financial institutions, technology companies, and consumers.”

While it is your responsibility to protect your bank account and financial information, banks must also be proactive in protecting their customers.

Salahi said, “Financial institutions must invest in state-of-the-art security technologies and educate their customers on the latest threats and prevention strategies.”

Despite more advanced security measures, protecting your financial information and accounts is more important than ever, especially as more banks and credit unions prioritize digital banking services.

Take the necessary steps now to protect yourself in the future.

About Author
Kevin Payne
Kevin Payne is a freelance writer specializing in credit cards, student loans, personal finance, and travel. He is a regular contributor to Forbes, Student Loan Planner, FinanceBuzz, and Club Thrifty. His work has also been seen on sites such as The Ascent, Credit Karma, and Millennial Money. Kevin is the budget and family travel expert behind
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