Identity theft is less of an inconvenience and more of a life-altering experience. It can happen to any of us in various ways, leaving us confused, out of money, and with a damaged reputation. 

Next to stopping the thief, our next concern will be getting our money back and if it is even possible. Since it was taken from our bank accounts without consent, there are steps you can take to get your money back as you work on fixing your credit and reputation. Don’t be scared to go to your banks with the demand of getting your money back. 

Start by Taking Inventory of the Damage

One of the first steps to getting your money back is to know exactly what you are owed. When you notice that your credit or debit cards have been used fraudulently, take inventory of the damage and report every transaction you did not make. Doing this gives you a better idea of how much you are owed and when the transactions started. 

During this time, it can be wise also to ask your bank to put a freeze on your current accounts so that the fraudulent transactions don’t continue while you go through the process of getting your identity back. 

Be Timely

Reporting and taking action against identity theft is time-dependent.  The quicker you spot the damage, the quicker you can put a stop to it and start an investigation. This can be done by checking your bank accounts frequently, possibly once a day or once a week, to ensure that nothing nefarious happens. 

This timeliness is especially important when it comes to your bank account.  There is a window to report the stolen money to your bank and request it back. When you report fraudulent activity within two days to your bank, you are liable for up to $50. Any day after this, up to 60 days, you are liable for up to $500. If you report the fraud at any point after 60 days, the bank no longer has any obligation to refund you your money. 

Understand What Your Bank Can and Can’t Do

The time frame of when you might get your money back from the bank will vary from bank to bank. Some will refund your money immediately, while others will want to proceed with a proper investigation before returning the funds. If an investigation does take place, banks can take up to 10 days to come to a conclusion. They then have three days to report the findings to you. The investigation will likely look into whether or not the fraud happened because of negligence or criminal activity. If the bank concludes that the fraud occurred because of user negligence, such as handing your pin out to people, money might not be given back. If this happens, you can reject the claim and try again or reach out to a consumer attorney to take further action. 

To get your money back, you must be timely and provide evidence that the money was criminally stolen and not an outcome of negligence. A bank can only provide assistance and refund if it is in the given timeframe, 60 days, and if the investigation comes back on your side of events.

Have you already reached out to your bank and credit bureaus, and you are not getting the results you want? Don’t get screwed over. Contact the team at Stecklein & Rapp today.