Fraud cost the banking industry $2.2 billion in 2016 alone partly due to criminals using advanced methods such as counterfeit cards or ATM skimming devices. Criminals are also targeting online banking credentials, and it's important that you know what to do if you have reason to believe your login information has been compromised.

How to tell if your credentials have been stolen

If someone has gained access to your bank account, you might notice some purchases you didn't make or a transfer to another account that you didn't authorize. Also, your debit or credit card may be denied because of insufficient funds.

In some cases, your financial institution will notice the unauthorized transactions and contact you. Its online portal may also display an error message and lock you out of your account if suspicious activity is detected.

What to do if you suspect fraudulent activity

It's imperative that you contact your bank, credit card issuer, or credit union right away if you suspect that someone has gained access to your online account. Some financial institutions even have a direct phone number for reporting suspicious activity. Otherwise, you can simply contact customer service.

Report transactions you didn't make, or explain that you believe someone has obtained your login credentials. You should also contact your bank or card issuer right away if you lose a debit or credit card, or misplace a checkbook.

Keep records of all communications with your financial institution. Policies vary, but you will typically only be liable for up to $50 in unauthorized transactions if you notify the financial institution within two business days.

Your financial institution will investigate the fraud and make sure that your account is secure, but don't hesitate to contact customer service again if you don't hear back in a couple of days.

How to prevent further theft

To prevent further theft:

  • Change your online banking password or PIN number. Customer service can help you do both.
  • Scan your computer and phone for spyware and other malware that can record the passwords you enter. If you find malware, use a different device to change your password.
  • Check your statements and log into your accounts regularly to check for unauthorized transactions and if there are, contact the financial institution immediately.
  • Sign up for text alerts to be notified when a transaction is made on the account.
  • If a card is lost or stolen, have the issuer or bank freeze it immediately.
  • If you suspect that more information has been compromised, check your credit report to look for new accounts you didn't open. You can request to have your credit frozen for a year, and keep monitoring your credit reports in the future.

CFNA is here for you. You can contact our customer service team at 800.321.3950 to report a lost or stolen card, get help with your online account, or report fraudulent activity on your account.

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