Whether through identity theft or simply obtaining your account information, there’s a good chance we all know someone who has had their bank account information stolen. In fact, nearly 50% of adult Americans have had unauthorized charges on their bank account or credit card, making it fairly likely that they are at risk for stolen account information.
We try to give your account the best protection and security, but identity thieves are consistently coming up with new ways to steal information. If your bank account is compromised what steps should you take? Is there anything you can do to decrease your risk of that happening?
If your bank account information is stolen, you should take the following steps:
Cancel or freeze all accounts/credit or debit cards
Contact Encore Bank as soon as you discover the theft
Submit a claim and/or an identity theft report
Change your passwords and pins
Check your credit reports
5 Steps to Take When Your Bank Account Information Is Stolen
Cancel or Freeze Your Accounts
The first step to take when you realize your bank account information has been stolen is to freeze your accounts and/or cards. If your card was physically stolen, you may be able to cancel it and request a new one. In this situation, your actual bank account information should be safe.
However, if your card was not physically stolen, you may be looking at identity theft or a bank account hack. In this case, you should freeze your entire account. Many banks will allow you to do this online so that it’s quick and easy for you to handle at any time. If you can’t find this feature, skip directly to step two.
Contact Encore Bank (or Your Bank of Business)
Even if you’ve figured out how to cancel or freeze your accounts, Encore Bank needs to know about the identity theft or hack in order to continue to keep your account safe. Our fraud department can help walk you through the next steps, including submitting a claim and improving your account security.
Submit a Claim and/or an Identity Theft Report
If money was taken from your account, you’ll need to submit a claim in order to get it back. Your bank will take down the information, such as your name and account numbers, when you discovered the unauthorized charge(s), and if you’ve already frozen your accounts.
Time is critical, so be sure to do this as soon as you realize your information has been stolen.
Some claims may need to go a step further if you believe you’ve been a victim of identity theft. Not everyone with stolen bank account information is also a victim of identity theft, but it’s important to report it through the FTC. Here, you can virtually report the theft, receive a recovery plan, and learn how to put it into action.
If you have already reported identity theft but have not reported your stolen account information to Encore Bank, please call our customer service line to do so.
Change Your Passwords and Pins
Once your accounts and cards have been frozen, your stolen account information or fraud has been reported, and your claims have been submitted, you can take the time to change your online banking passwords and debit card pins. While this may seem like a beginning step in this process, the thief already has your information, and preventing them from actually using it is priority number one. Therefore, changing your passwords and pins immediately will not be as beneficial as freezing your accounts.
It is, however, still important for further protection. You want to choose a password for your online banking account that has never been used anywhere else. You also want to set a new debit card PIN.
As much as you want an easy-to-remember PIN, the easier your pin is to remember, the easier it is for a hacker or thief to figure it out. For example, let’s say your wallet is stolen in a restaurant. The thief now has not only your cards but also your driver’s license and other personal information. If your debit card PIN is your birthday, they now have easy access to your funds.
Check Your Credit Reports
This won’t apply if your debit card or checking account information was stolen, but it will apply if you were the victim of credit card fraud or identity theft. Check your credit reports to see if there has been any unrecognized activity. You can dispute any fraudulent activity with the particular credit bureau it shows up on.
How Can You Increase Security On Your Accounts
As we previously stated, getting your bank account information stolen isn’t exactly uncommon, and is unfortunately outside of your control for the most part. However, there are a few ways to increase security on your accounts to make yourself less vulnerable to hackers and thieves.
Update and Install Security Software
Updates are essential to security because they address security holes in your software. Otherwise, hackers may use these holes to gain access to your personal information. Also, security software such as antivirus and firewall software can help combat any harmful software that may be attempting to install on your devices.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
As time-consuming and frustrating as two-factor authentication may be, it’s said by Microsoft to stop 99.9% of attacks. In order to log into an account with two-factor authentication set up, a hacker or thief would need to steal both your phone and your password, something that’s significantly less likely.
Change Your Passwords Frequently
As irritating as it may be, it’s considered best practice to change your passwords frequently. These passwords are stored on servers you do not have control or access to, and these servers are commonly hacked and sold on the dark web. If you have trouble remembering many complex passwords, try using a good password manager to keep track of them.
Contact Encore Bank
Overall, having someone access your bank account information is not uncommon, but there are fairly easy remedies for this situation. If you believe your bank account information has been compromised, please contact Encore Bank Immediately.