My mom keeps monitoring my personal bank account (a checking account that belongs only to me) via an employee friend of a large national bank chain that I bank in. I bank at a top-10 bank in the USA whose name everyone has heard, but I live in a different state than my mom. I reported this activity to a personal banker, who checked the online logs for activity in the state/address that my mom resides in. He found nothing. I then proceeded to open another bank account in a completely different top-10 US bank and withdrew most of my money into this new bank account. A few weeks later my mom asked me why I withdrew almost all my money from my original bank account.

I want this (presumably illegal) surveillance to stop and I would like to pursue any and all legal means available to me -- either against the bank or against my mom or both (if possible). The personal banker I spoke to told me that he does not see any login activity attempting to access my bank account records from the state that my mom lives in, so he said that possibly the only other alternative could have been a bank teller/cashier that my mom knows who could have checked my account from a different database system. Apparently, personal bankers and tellers/cashiers have access to different database systems.

In any case, could anyone please advise me on my options -- both in terms of putting an end to this surveillance, properly reporting it, bringing the employee responsible to justice, and pursuing any appropriate legal action available to me under these circumstances.

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    How do you know this is how she is doing it? Do you know who the employee friend is? If so, you could contact the bank and report that their employee is disclosing confidential information to unauthorized parties. If all you know is that your mom seems to know what you're doing, you can also report that to your bank, but it sounds like they may be as is in the dark as you are about how she's doing it. – BrenBarn Feb 10 '17 at 6:56
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    Have you seen any evidence of monitoring of your new bank account (at the different bank)? If not, how about closing all accounts at the original bank, and you're done? – AakashM Feb 10 '17 at 11:29
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    This is more legal. Right now you don't have any proof [in court of law] that your mother accessed your account. You have an hunch. You can file a grievance with the Bank that you believe your account was accessed without correct request. It is difficult for bank to find this, as View by a authorized users are not audited. There is no legal requirements to audit views by authorized users. Only changes are audited. Access to menu functions are audited. – Dheer Feb 10 '17 at 12:42
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    I think this should be migrated to law. We can't offer advice on legal action of the sort that the OP is asking for. – NL - Apologize to Monica Feb 10 '17 at 14:20
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    If you keep an account there because your wife does, surely your wife doesn't want your mom snooping on her too... so get her to move to your new bank too. – Andy Feb 11 '17 at 0:12

If you're under 18 there's not much you can do. As a minor, your kinda just stuck. There are routes to go, but not many.

If you're over 18, here's what you can do.

  1. Talk to your bank's "security team". Use words like "Unauthorized access" and "confidential information". Don't say "my mom", use her name. "Jane Smith has been gaining unauthorized access to my confidential banking information." sounds way more serious then "my mom has been monitoring my account". Though they mean the same things.
  2. Call the police. Lodge a complaint of "identity theft", or "unauthorized access". They will have to investigate.
  3. Call a lawyer. Have them send a letter for you to the bank. That will make them take action. Keep in mind that it may not be the action you want.
  4. Keep your passwords unique and safe. Don't use your SSN as a pin or password.

Now these steps won't help you not anger your mother. They're "what you can do" but it doesn't mean you "should". Keep in mind that it might be better just to have a conversation. In that conversation, if you think you need to say, "I will file a complaint with the FBI, and have you arrested if you don't stop! You're breaking the law and invading my privacy."

Again these are drastic steps to take. More moderate steps may be advisable.

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  • I talked to the bank's manager (where my mom banks at) by phone -- he said that they would put an alert on my account to ensure that this activity can be monitored. However, it happened again and I was not alerted. He also said that he would get back to me with more information after they carried out an internal investigation, but he never got back to me. He also stopped taking my calls or returning voice mail. For the record, I am well over 18. – warship Feb 10 '17 at 16:26

Has the monitoring stopped now that you are at a new bank? Presumably it has.

If it has stopped, then let it go. Its your mom and while the relationship might be somewhat dysfunctional, it is the only mother relationship you have. Do you really want her criminally prosecuted?

She may have done you a favor by pointing out the security loop holes present in your old bank. Thanks mom!

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    The monitoring has probably not stopped because I haven't closed the old bank account (only withdrawn most of the money from it). The bigger issue at stake here is the unauthorized access of confidential info (as stated by @coteyr), so it's the employee friend that my mom has at this bank that is the real problem. Letting it go with your mom is one thing, keeping an employee like that employed at a reputable national bank chain is a completely different issue. This is not an issue to take lightly. – warship Feb 10 '17 at 16:11
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    If you want to go after the employee and/or the bank, that is out of scope here. Get a lawyer. Free medical or legal advice on the Internet is generally not worth what you paid for it, and it isn't Personal Finance as defined in our mission statement. – keshlam Feb 10 '17 at 23:19

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