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Debit Card Fraud? Act Fast to Protect Your Money

To secure your account from debit card theft, contact your bank as soon as possible.

Maybe you see an unfamiliar charge on your bank statement. Or you notice your debit card isn’t in its normal place in your wallet. If you suspect bank account fraud, now is the time to take action. Otherwise, any money that’s missing may be gone for good. Here’s what to do.

Report unauthorized transactions ASAP

Dial your bank's fraud hotline straight away if you think your card has been lost or stolen. This is the most crucial move in protecting your savings.

You should rest easy knowing that if you record the missing card before any fraudulent payments are made, you will not risk any money and the bank has the option to lock or cancel it.

If you disclose fraudulent charges made with your missing card to your bank within two business days of finding them, your bank will deduct up to $50 from your refund, if you obtain one. If it's found that you registered the missing or stolen card earlier than two days after learning about it, the maximum loss will be $500, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

However, if you wait more than 60 days after receiving your bank statement — the one with the 0unapproved charges — you risk losing all of the money. Furthermore, money from related sources, such as funds deposited from an overdraft account into the corrupted checking account, could be lost.

If your actual card isn't missing or robbed, but anyone uses your debit card number fraudulently, you do need to report the fraud, but the process is a little different. If you announce the suspicious purchases within 60 days of receiving your bank statement, you will not be held liable.

Following up with a letter or email after reporting a suspicious transaction is recommended by the TC.

Account frozen? Submit documentation

Even if you don't record a debit card failure, your bank can freeze your account while it investigates fraudulent activity. You could be asked to mail or upload identification details, such as your Social Security number and a copy of your driver's license, to your bank's safe website.

You will also be asked to clarify any suspicious transactions or withdrawals in order to establish whether or not theft took place. Since each case is unique, it's important to read your deposit account agreement closely to learn about your bank's policies.

Ask your bank for relief

If money is stolen from your account fraudulently, and the resulting reduction in your balance results in overdraft fees, ask the bank to waive the fees. If you don't get one immediately, you can petition the bank for a temporary credit of the contested funds as it conducts its investigation.

You can cover for bills for another money mechanism you can tap easily, such as an emergency fund savings plan, while the bank examines the hacked account. If you don't have a rainy-day fund, look for alternative ways to get funds quickly, such as applying for government help or asking your boss for a loan. 

Monitor bank transactions online

Your bank can cancel your debit card but leave your account open if it is lost or stolen, as opposed to anyone accessing your account electronically. Daily surveillance will help you ensure that the robber hasn't found out how to break into your account in that situation. In your bank's smartphone app or website, you will usually see the most recent deposits in your checking account. Make a habit of checking it on a daily basis for any unusual transactions. 

Know the bank’s timeline

When you report theft to the bank, it usually takes the institution 10 business days to investigate. If the bank discovers that money was fraudulently stolen from your account (or that there was some other kind of financial error), it has one business day to fix it and three business days to inform yxozsw42edu in writing of the findings.

You have the right to file a lawsuit with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau if you are dissatisfied with some aspect of the bank's conduct. Market financial goods are controlled by this federal agency, which can be found online at or by phone at 855-411-2372.

The bank will have 15 days to respond to the lawsuit, but it may take up to 60 days in some cases. After that, you'll have 60 days to respond to the response. The CFPB will post the case to a federal customer complaints website with personal details deleted as part of the procedure.

Rebounding from bank account fraud

It's terrifying to see someone gaining access to your checking account without your consent. You are protected against debit card theft if it occurs. However, the bank's security is contingent on when you contact them. To have the best chance of protecting your deposit and bank balance, report it as soon as possible.