It’s incredibly rare that any NorthOne accounts are frozen or blocked. In most cases this is a temporary measure, and the freeze or block is quickly lifted. However, when it happens to you, it doesn’t matter how rare it is. You need to understand what’s going on right away.
That’s why we put this brief guide on why we sometimes block or freeze accounts and what you can do if your NorthOne account is ever frozen or blocked. We’ve never frozen, blocked, or closed an account randomly.
Blocking an account is a crime prevention tool
NorthOne bank accounts are FDIC insured. That means we have to follow precise rules set by banking regulators that are aimed at preventing bad guys from moving money around and funding criminal activities. These are commonly known as anti-money-laundering and counter-terrorism financing rules and they lay out a very specific guide for how we need to deal with suspicious activity. And that’s a good thing – it protects us from terrorists and criminals, and protects you from crime.
We’re not allowed to give too much detail on how or why we might block an account or explain the ways we detect fraud – otherwise, criminals would figure out how to work around our detection systems. But we can give a broad description of how we recognize that criminal activity may be going on:
- We spot unusual activity. There are some common signs that an account is being used for criminal activity like money laundering. In these cases, we’ll lock and close the account.
- We identify a high-risk customer. Sometimes we’re told by other banks that a NorthOne account has been linked to suspicious activity. So we’ll freeze the account on our side while we investigate.
- The police tell us to block an account. This can happen as part of a financial crime investigation, and we’ll cooperate with any requests from law enforcement.
By freezing accounts, we’re also helping potential victims of financial crime. On occasion, people are tricked or forced to funnel illegal money through their accounts as a way to launder money. Victims could be at risk of losing their entire life savings if banks didn’t step in and take action.
Freezing an account protects your money
When our fraud systems detect that someone else may be trying to access your account or have access, we’ll freeze it as quickly as possible. This means that we prevent any money from moving in or out of the account. As soon as we know that things are okay we’ll unfreeze the account and restore service.
We’re not allowed to say why we’ve blocked an account
We know this can be very frustrating. But we’re not being deliberately ambiguous or ignoring anyone. We’re following the letter of the law. It’s something we take very seriously.
It’s common for criminals to try and get into their accounts by putting pressure on us, and sometimes getting other people to join in too. This can be as simple as posting negative comments or reviews about NorthOne – or coming up with an elaborate or very sad story about how the locked account is ruining their business. This is all part of the job and unfortunately something our team has to deal with. Rest assured that we treat every customer with the same level of support and partnership. We don’t let those situations get in the way of fulfilling our promise to support business owners across America.
False-positives do happen
It does sometimes (though very rarely) happen that we block an account that looks suspicious, but after investigating find there’s a perfectly reasonable and legal explanation for the activity. When this happens, we unblock the account as soon as possible and make things right for the customer.
Banking is a highly regulated industry, and for good reason. These laws exist to help keep your money safe. We always want to make sure that NorthOne customers have access to their money and accounts whenever and wherever they need it – and we’re committed to making sure we do that safely.