It is a frustrating and frightening when money is stolen from your bank account. Thieves can illegally transfer money from your bank account if they have access to your information. While bank accounts are often insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., third-party theft is not covered. All is not lost, however. You may recover the funds stolen from you by reporting the incident to your bank. The bank should investigate your claim and work to find the guilty party. It may even return the funds to you and secure your account against further theft.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Call your bank as soon as you find out that the funds have been transferred without your permission. Your bank will put a freeze on your account so more funds will not be stolen. It will also start the investigation into finding the guilty party.
Go through your bank records and notate every unauthorised transfer you find. Many times, thieves will try several small transfers first to see if they go through, before moving on to larger transfers. Go back several months, because you may not have noticed the smaller transfers. It is easier to not notice that £3 is missing from your account, compared with £325. Calculate the total for all of the unauthorised transfers.
File a complaint with your local police. Your bank may require you to do this to recover your stolen money. But even if the bank does not require this, file a police report anyway. You don't need to know the name of the guilty party yet. You just need to get it documented in case you need to file a claim in the courts in the future. Provide the total amount of money stolen to the police.
Work with the bank to find out how the illegal money transfer happened in the first place. The guilty party would have to know your personal and banking information to pull this off. It could have been someone close to you or someone who works for a company that you provided the information to. It could also have been a bank employee.
Hire an attorney to "make a demand." This is when you send an official request to the guilty party for a refund for the stolen bank transfers. Most of the time you won't have to go to this extreme if the bank decides to refund your money after its investigation. Sometimes, when it is a company or an authorised person on the account who made the transfer, the bank will uphold the transfer and won't refund the money. This is when you will have to go directly to the guilty party.
File a claim in the courts if the guilty party don't respond to your request for a refund. Take your documentation, including your bank statement, police report and documentation from the bank that verifies that the guilty party transferred the money, to the court system in your area and file a lawsuit. Check the dollar-amount stipulations in your state to see if you will have to file the lawsuit in small claims court.
Follow up with the police to include the name and location of the guilty party on the police report. The police will charge the guilty party with theft and make an arrest. If the thief is found guilty, he may be ordered to pay restitution by a judge. The restitution, minus court costs, will be refunded to you to recover the money that was stolen.
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