Unfortunately if your bank account is scammed online, the chances are that you’ll never find out “who dunnit”. You won’t be able to get them, hit them, shout at them or probably get your cash back from them, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t need to act fast if you believe that some unauthorized shenanigans has been going on with your online bank account. Scammers often work in groups too, so you might even find that you are the target of a follow up scam . . . it’s very important that you take appropriate action.
If You Think That Your Online Bank Account Has Been Scammed
- Contact your bank immediately, not using the contact details from your emails (they’ll probably just lead straight back to the scammers) but using the telephone number from an account statement or on the back of your ATM card. Hey, why not check the telephone directory (remember those?) The quicker you alert your bank the quicker you can limit how much money you will be liable for.
- Close your bank account and open a new one.
- Contact your credit card company. You might even be able to get a charge back from your credit card company if they believe that it was billed fraudulently.
- Don’t forget that the fault may very well lie in your computer and the virus or other malicious software could still be there for the future. Fun a full system check with your virus checker (you do have a virus checker . . . right?). The scammers could possibly have the details of all your online passwords so change them after you’ve cleaned up your computer (or got a professional to do the job for you).
- Report the scam to your local government agency and as many of the anti scam companies you can find. By telling other people what happened to you it can help them to become more aware of the latest scams around and be more vigilant with their own online bank accounts. Scamming is such an enormous problem these days that there are plenty of organizations around fighting the cause.
- Contact credit reporting agencies, after all, if you’ve given out your personal information then you are likely to be the victim of identity theft, so don’t forget to contact Equifax, Experian and TransUnion Corporation. Ask them to place an fraud alert on your file and ask them for a free copy of your credit report so that you can check whether any accounts have already been opened without your knowledge or consent.
- Contact the local police . . . they do need to be kept informed and file a criminal report.
- Contact your social security fraud hotline.
- Contact the passport office . . . you never know what they’ll be using your personal information for.
- Even if you didn’t fall for the phishing email, it still needs to be reported to your bank or credit card company so that they are kept up to date with the latest situations and can fight against the growing number of bank account scammers.