What to do When an Unauthorized Transfer is Made

What happens when you find out your bank account was hacked, and someone transferred funds out of your account?  This can be a scary situation, and certainly can cause one to panic.  However, the Electronic Funds Transfers Act provides a framework for disputes over these transfers to be handled.

  • First, call your bank customer service line and immediately report the unauthorized transaction. At this point, your bank may either request you go to a local branch or provide a writing to them.
  • You must comply with the bank’s request for a writing.
  • Notice must be given within 60 days of the date in which a bank statement is received that contains the error.  What this means is that ultimately every transaction on a checking or savings account shows up on a monthly bank statement.  You have 60 days from the date of receiving that statement to make a complaint. Therefore, you really have more than 60 days from the date that the transfer actually took place.
  • What if you don’t receive a monthly statement? The fact is you do.  You just may have opted to not have it mailed to you.  However, banking regulations require that a bank statement be prepared on each account.  You may be getting email notice that the statement is available.
  • Once the bank receives your notice, a certain action must be taken within 10 days. The bank must either:
  • Investigate the dispute entirely and respond to you within 10 days, and if it is determined that an error occurred on your account, replace the funds immediately (within one day);


  • Provide a provisional credit to the account for the amount that was taken within that first 10 days. Then, perform its entire investigation and complete it within 45 days, and notify the results via mail.  Again, if an error is found to have occurred, the bank must replace that money within one day.