If you’re wondering about what can a scammer do with my bank account number, this is what our guide focuses on and talks about all the preventive measures you must keep in place to protect yourself the best from falling into any such trap.
While advanced technology has paved the way towards modern solutions, it has also increased illegal and unauthorized activities over the platforms. Similar to apps hack and identity thefts, bank frauds have exponentially increased with every passing day. Preventing your personal information, most importantly the bank details is the key to escaping any double-dealings.
What Can a Scammer Do with My Bank Account Number?
The bank account is your entity, and whatever transaction you perform through it appears as your transaction history. It is essential to keep a record of your payment history to be aware of anything happening on this channel.
Scammers are a whiz here, and they require minor information to crack your details. If by any chance, you happen to disseminate your bank account and routing number to a defrauder, get ready to face the consequences.
It is important to note that performing such sharp practice is not possible only with an account number in hand. Another security number that authorizes the withdrawals from your bank account is the routing number.
Account number, along with the routing number can be quite a bummer if you hand it over to any scammer. This makes way for the fraudsters to gain access to your personal information. It also puts at stake your financial particulars.
Breaking into your accounts is the piece of cake for scammers as long as they acquire these two fundamental pieces of information as discussed earlier. Giving out this information to anyone makes you vulnerable to illegal thefts, scams, or frauds.
Anyone who wants to transfer funds to your banking account from any other means such as PayPal, Apple Pay or a debit card needs to have with them your account number, along with the routing number. Without either of these, it is not practically possible for them to deposit money into your account.
The scammers can send money using this information and might set you up for money fraud. Whenever you are handing over such sensitive information to someone, make sure they either owe you some money or are in the legal capacity to perform no such act.
If you witness any extra funds on your account, it would be best to track the payment instantly and inform your bank about the situation.
Another fraud scammer can commit is the ACH fraud which is a transaction altered to mislead the funds. What happens is that payments are scheduled using your personal information. These can either be recurring payments or one-time payments of a certain amount.
If you do not take preventive measures on time, such as when using checks at a shopping store, the funds keep vanishing from your account unauthorized. Checks are mainly the source of unveiling your account and routing number to someone which can then be used for the ACH frauds.
Imposter scams are the tricky and risky ones to crack while you are on the verge of panicking. Such scammers usually pretend to be some sort of a government official or say that they are contacting you from one of the licensed federal agencies.
To grip you into their fraud, they entice you in a conversation where they make you believe that you’ve won some sort of prize. Furthermore, they mention that you are responsible for paying a certain amount in the name of fees or taxes for the said price.
Please beware of such government imposter scams as there is no such official federal agency asking people for payment on prizes they win.
Fraudulent checks lie under the category of forgery that scammers can commit when they have your account number. All they require is a paper check, forge your signature and enter sensitive information required to perform a payment.
These checks are either cashed by them or used for purchases. Fraudulent checks carry a sizeable risk since scammers can add any amount and get cashed. If regrettably, you do carry a huge sum of cash then it would be gone even before you notice.
You might have heard of or even experienced emails or texts from sources claiming to be your official banks. Using this sharp tactic, scammers imitate and trick you into revealing your bank account information such as account number, SSN, and routing number.
They then use this information to hack your account and start making unsanctioned transfers. Not only this, but they also send you a link asking to update your information on the fake ad self-created website.
Please note that these are nothing but pure scams where they extract your relevant personal details to commit bank fraud.
With feature like websites that provide credit lines or online stores that give you cash back, this means of shopping has increased in use considerably. If you are a regular online shopper, you’d know that certain online retailers require bank account information. This is where you are technically inviting scammers to hack into your information.
Anyone, who has access to this set of information can easily approach your checking account and utilize the funds for online shopping. Try avoiding this act and find a suitable alternative to keep security over your convenience.
Another fraud that a scammer can commit is the automatic withdrawal scam. To be able to comprehend, it is important that you keep track of your daily transactions. In this scam, you either get a call or postcard that claims that you’ve won a certain prize.
If you respond to the offer and accept it, they ask you to say the numbers on your check as verification. This is nothing but a deception where the information is put on a demand draft and processed further.
The draft is passed on to the bank that withdraws the money from your checking account and pays to the other party. Please note that this doesn’t even require a signature and you wouldn’t even know until it’s too late.
How Does a Scammer Get My Account Details?
You might be wondering what are the outlets that give off your information to the scammers. Well, here are a few which you must keep in mind to prevent anyone from invading your private bank information.
- Interception of Email: Scammers can intercept your email log and get access to your financial and personal information. Another way they could get your account details in the mail is redirection. It usually enhances the feasibility of scammers stealing your bank account information.
- Breach of Data: Data breach is one of the commonly faced problems among financial institutions. Several banking units experience a data breach that also puts your sensitive information on the line. Unfortunately, scammers can also get access to your account details in this way.
- Pharming: Pharming is another online scam manipulating the traffic on shopping websites and tugging them to reveal financial information. As soon as you fill out bank account information on the checkout, your information gets stolen right at the spot.
- Forums for Carding: Carding forums are also one of the major hubs where scammers can get access to your bank information. These carding forums put your details for the sale including your account number, email address, and much more.
Who to Report If Scammer Uses My Account Number?
Before reporting any such activity, it is important to keep your eyes and mind open and track all your payments vigilantly on a routine basis.
If you witness any skepticism on your transaction history or account balance, it would be best to contact your bank promptly.
Several other steps you can opt for in case of suspicious activities on your account include.
- Contact the official credit bureaus and get in contact with their fraud monitoring department. Three major credit bureaus are TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian.
- Another agency is the Federal Trade Commission where you can present your case in case of any inconvenience.
- US Department of Justice’s Fraud Section also facilitates bank frauds and scams. Do contact the respective department to get into the depth of such forgery.
- You can also approach the local police department in your territory and explain your case to them.
Keeping a constant track and activities of your banking is the first and foremost step everyone must try to adopt. This can prevent or mitigate the chances of deceits on the account.
Things to Keep in Mind to Avoid Bank Scams
It is not certainly possible to wipe away the bank scams and root them off completely. But you can always take several steps to prevent from getting trapped in such acts. Here are a few things you must keep in mind:
- Always try to hand over such sensitive information only to trustworthy sources.
- Keeping a bank account number private isn’t practically possible but you can always open a separate account to receive transactions.
- Try limiting the use of paper checks since they contain critical information about your bank account.
- Try to use your best judgment and do not fall into anything that does not seem legit in the first place.
- If you are using online banking, the smartest choice would be setting up two-factor authentication to guard your information,
- Pay heed to scam calls you receive and try to break them down whether it’s even from the official source or not.
- It would be best to use the prepaid card or money transfer app rather than giving out your baking information.
- Set up alerts and notifications on your banking app and website so you are always cautioned if anything suspicious happens.
- Any calls that claim you winning a prize must be ignored and never pay them anything in exchange.
- Try to avoid cashing a check for anyone that you don’t trust.
Before You Go!
Banking is surely one of the advanced and easiest ways of managing your finances, but as we say not everything that glitters is gold. Bank frauds are quite common nowadays. Therefore, people often worry about what can a scammer do with my bank account number. Scammers are all over the internet and these wizards require nothing but a tiny bit of information to get everything they want.
The finest way to avoid such scams is to try to efficiently manage and scrutinize your transaction activities. If there is anything you didn’t authorize or make a payment yourself, this should ring enough bells to notify you about the fraud. Never give out your bank account number, let alone the routing number to anyone other than reliable sources.
Miriam Caldwell is a dedicated & expert freelance writer to educate people about personal finance management and budgeting. She shared her knowledge and published the articles at TheBalance.com, GOBankingRates, and BlissfullyDomestic.com. Many financial institutes pick Caldwell as the brilliant source for educational personal finance content.