Hacked? What to do when your bank account gets compromised

The use of online banking and e-wallets has expanded in the Philippines. A recent report from a consumer finance firm, Digido, claims that there were 58 million users of online banking and e-wallet applications last year. Likewise, Filipinos spent more than four million hours on their online money applications.

With it comes the prevalence of online banking scams and schemes, or attempts to scrupulously get your private information to steal money from your online banking accounts. Banks have employed advanced technology to prevent these schemes from happening but anyone caught off-guard can be a victim of fraud.

So what do you do when your account gets compromised? Here are some tips: 

Change your details and report to your bank ASAP. If you suspect your account has been compromised, you may have fallen victim to phishing, a scam that attempts to acquire your online banking account’s username and password. Take action as soon as you suspect someone has unauthorized access to your account. Change your log-in and transaction passwords immediately to prevent fraudsters from accessing your account. Contact your bank’s customer care hotline right away. For RCBC account holders, for instance, you can contact their customer service hotline at 8877-7222.

Hold off from using your compromised account. Stop using your account until you are sure it has been secured. Depending on the gravity of the fraud, you can ask your bank to freeze your compromised accounts to prevent further unauthorized transactions. 

For RCBC, you can use the Card Lock/Unlock feature which secures your account instantly. Simply log in to your RCBC online banking account and choose the debit card that you wish to secure. Once your card is locked, your account is immediately protected from being used without having to call the bank.

Monitor your account closely for any suspicious changes in activity. Check if there are any changes to your bank account profile that you did not make yourself. Review your online banking transactions to see if there were any unauthorized or suspicious purchases. You can contact the vendor involved in the fraudulent purchases for details of the transactions made.

Check your email account for unusual activities. Be watchful for any signs of unauthorized access as fraudsters may take over your email account to intercept sensitive information, such as login credentials or one-time passwords.  Gaining access to your email can enable them to redirect any confirmation or verification emails sent by your bank, making it difficult for you to detect and prevent fraudulent activities. This includes changing passwords and enabling multi-factor authentication.

Keep abreast of the trends and latest online scams. Hackers will continue to think of creative ways how to scam and defraud their victims. Learning about it would help you to spot and prevent another scam from happening.  At this point, it’s valid to be paranoid when it comes to your cybersecurity.

Check out information and advisories sent by your bank or financial provider.  RCBC for instance has launched a multi-channel consumer education campaign to empower their clients with knowledge about protecting their accounts online. They send regular tips via email, share videos, post on social media, and even hold client education forums.  To ensure the safety of its clients, RCBC Digital, the bank’s online banking platform, offers enhanced security features such as biometric login and two-factor authentication.

Fraud and online scams in the Philippines have become more prevalent and remain to be a big problem. While banks and other digital finance solutions providers continue to invest in the latest technology to ensure the safety and integrity of their online platforms, every user also has the responsibility to protect their accounts and not share any personal or account information.

Keep this list handy. And when it does happen to you, you will know what to do.