Stories by Omodele Adigun
As banks and other financial institutions across the world recently grappled with Wannacry and Golden Eye cyber attack, here is what to do if your bank account is hacked.
If you notice any strange or unusual activity on your bank statement, notify your bank immediately.
Cyber attacks on banks happen everyday, but not to worry, most banks are well protected against hackers. A threat of a cyber attack should not deter you from using a financial institution.
But in the case your account has been hacked, here’s how to regain control of your bank account.
Signs you’ve been hacked
Strange purchases that appear on your bank statement may be the first clue that a hacker has infiltrated your account. Always read credit card and bank statements, paying close attention to match the transactions to your activity.
Sometimes you’ll notice seemingly small, yet unfamiliar purchases. Thieves often do that to test if your card will work before making larger purchases.
Depending on your bank, it will notify you of suspicious activity and automatically cancel fraudulent charges and issue you a new card.
Lost or stolen card numbers
If you realize your card has been lost or stolen, contact your bank right away; Don’t wait for your bank to notify you of fraudulent activity.
Once you notify your bank of you missing card, it will freeze your account, blocking any purchases or payments. You can either visit a local branch for a temporary card or wait for a new card to come in the mail.
If any unauthorized purchases are made, most banks will refund you the lost money.That is why banks are reliable.
Here are other reasons your account is safe from hackers:
Banks are reliable
If a hacker steals money from a bank, the customer won’t lose money; The bank is liable to pay the money back to the customer.
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. Banks are constantly improving their systems for detecting and dealing with these problems. Banks do have their flaws, but security software is constantly being improved to reflect the shared interests of its shareholders and customers.
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. This allows you to skip several layers of security the next time you log in since the bank recognizes 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.
Beware of spam
Email software is pretty good at getting rid of spam most 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. This most likely is a scam. Hackers design sites that mimic bank’s websites. If something like this happens to you, don’t enter details such as a password unless you’re sure it’s a secure website.The Internet monitors the security certificate of websites, making it easier to detect invalid sites.
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 it’s a foreign transaction or you’re currently overseas — block the card and lodge a dispute investigation. Before you go on vacation it’s always smart to gather a list of phone numbers 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, you should be refunded the missing money.
Steps to keep yourself safe
Keep your passwords and pins safe: That means not giving them out to anyone, including family or friends or anyone soliciting them over email. Also try not to write them down.
Check the validity of any sites asking for your bank account information upon signup: Most legitimate sites will have privacy and security terms that you can review. Security on the webpage itself is denoted by https at the beginning of a URL.
Try not to use public networks to check your bank account: That means no quick peeks at your finances while you’re out and about shopping or working. Using public networks can compromise your personal security and put your information at risk.
Avoid giving out your contact information to strangers: Don’t necessarily answer security questions honestly. The name of your first pet won’t actually be verified, so you can choose a different word. Just make sure whatever you use is memorable to avoid being locked out of your account.
The more characters you can use in a password, the better. Random letters interspersed with numbers and special characters will take much longer for software to crack than just a series of numbers. Likewise, the same random assortment will make it harder for someone to simply guess your password.
Remember that your intuition is a quick series of pattern recognition by your subconscious: That means if your gut tells you something is off, it probably is.
Report any suspicious people or unverifiable companies soliciting your banking information. You may also want to contact your bank.
Run antivirus and antimalware software regularly to prevent computer infections: Doing so could end up saving your information.
Check your transactions and statements for any fraudulent purchases: Report any that you find right away.
If you’re not sure if something is legitimate, don’t be shy about asking a friend or family member. A second opinion may end up saving you from a costly mistake.