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On thanksgiving day a woman posted in a facebook group that her father had just passed away (left her money) and in good deed because it was thanksgiving she was offering to pay people’s debts. Well I inboxed her and she pretty much wants me to open up a bank account with First Tech Credit Union and give her my log in and password info. Ofcourse its sketchy!

So I questioned her and asked why she wanted that instead of her sending me the money directly from her bank to mine. She then responded because she wants to keep records of my debts. (She asked for proof and I sent her screenshots ONLY of my outstanding balances) I heard about the depositing checks scam so I questioned her about how she would deposit the funds and she said cash.

Her facebook page is 100% legit, I screenshotted her pics and family profiles etc. We came to an agreement that I would only accept her help if she sends me a picture of her ID before me sending this info.

She literally just wants to deposit the money to me, She isn’t asking me to send nobody money from that account or anything. Of course the account will be empty when I provide it to her. When she does deposit the money I am planning to immediately change the password and obviously stay watching my account activity while she deposits the funds.

She actually also provided pics of other accounts she funded. My question is, is this a scam? And if so how could she possibly scam me? Specially if i have her information and A pic of her ID. She is a christian lady and looks like she has a good heart, We talked about my struggles and she actually looked into why I needed to be assisted with the money. By no means was she pushy or anything. I want to believe that she just wants to help me but I am also too skeptical.

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    Welcome new user. It's just a simple scam. (A team of people sit there trying to scam 100s of suckers at once, you're not even talking to "one person".) – Fattie Dec 1 '18 at 5:06
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    You can be sure it's not "some lady". More likely some bloke Nigeria who at other times pretends to be a prince in Nigeria, or closely related to someone who had to leave the country and leave $20,000,000 behind. – gnasher729 Dec 1 '18 at 15:35
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    While some people do give away money (for instance the man who recently gave $1000 (each) to high schools students & staff affected by the Paradise, California fire), they don't set up complicated bank account schemes, they just hand out checks. – jamesqf Dec 1 '18 at 19:17
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    If you think something has any chance of being a scam, assume it is and stay away from it. – Rich Dec 1 '18 at 20:52
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    Asking someone online for an ID proves nothing. They can send you a fake ID, or an ID stolen from someone else they scammed. (Scammers routinely ask their marks to send scanned IDs precisely for the purpose of stealing their identities online.) Even if everything goes swimmingly and you lock her out and keep the money, you might find in a year or two that you're being investigated as part of some money laundering scheme. – Steve-O Dec 5 '18 at 16:02
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Yes, this is a scam. Your instinct was correct, and you should not engage with this person further.

Scam artists use other people's bank accounts to move money around from scam to scam. Even if you give her access to a bank account with no money in it, that bank account will be in your name, and the scam artist will use it for illegal activity in your name. If you are somehow able to get funds out of it while it has money in it (unlikely), the money you will be obtaining will undoubtedly be stolen money from someone else.

If a Christian lady with a good heart really wanted to give money away to pay people's debts, she wouldn't go looking for strangers on Facebook. She would instead probably find local people she knows from her church and community. She certainly would not instruct people to open a new bank account and give her the username and password.

If a true friend of yours wanted to give you money, she would write you a check.

It is a bad idea to give anyone your bank username and password.

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    It is always a very bad idea to give anyone your bank username and password. There are no exceptions to this rule. – stannius Dec 3 '18 at 16:05
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    And that includes giving them to someone who claims to be from your bank. NEVER do this – Mawg Jan 24 at 11:50
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It's a scam because of the intersection of the following things:

  • entirely online. This allows them to use data they create, such as all the forged* proofs they sent you.
  • they want to do the financial transacations on their terms, not yours. I would give them my email and tell them to send paypal. They want to use a bank.
  • wanting you to violate common sense, i.e. Sharing passwords. Never share passwords. Ever.

The underlying scam is one of several possibilities.

They want the bank account to work other frauds. They can't get their own bank account due to a ChexSystems blacklist, Know Your Customer laws, or they are not physically in this country. Shortly after you give them the password, they will do an email address change and password change and lock you out. You'll go "whatevs". They'll commit financial crimes with the account.

They are working an overpayment scam on you. Money will appear from source X and then disappear to destination Y. Who cares? Y will be an irreversible transaction. X will reverse, overdrawing the account. Guess who's on the hook for that.

Steal your overdraft protection, they know that bank's policy is to allow through withdrawals that overdraw the account by some limit (my bank is $800). They aim to overdraw the account and leave you to settle up with the bank.

Or who knows? You have effectively given them carte blanche to dream up schemes for which you will be responsible.

Her Facebook page is somebody else's Facebook page.



* The "pics" are screenshots, which are trivial to manipulate in Photoshop, or even easier, by using "save" in the Web browser to save the web page, altering the HTML code which is in plain language, then opening the altered web page in the brower and screenshotting it.

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Is it possible that some total stranger wants to give you money for nothing? Sure, it's possible. But it's not likely, so right away I'd be suspicious.

Asking you to open an account and give her the id and password is doubly suspicious. Why would any honest person need access to an account in your name? She wants to keep records of your debts? That doesn't even make sense. How would having access to a new account that you open give her records of anything except transactions on that account? Well, maybe there's more to the story here that would make this at least marginally plausible.

  • Additional Thought a Year Later *

The fact that she says she claims to be a "Christian lady" who just wants to help people proves nothing. It may be true. But if she is a scam artist, what would you expect her to say? "I'm a thief and this is all a scam to steal your money. Now please follow my instructions."? Of course she's going to CLAIM to be a good Christian lady who just wants to help you.

How could it be a scam? Most obvious thing that occurs to me: She deposits money to this account. Then she sends money to herself from your account. Then her deposit bounces. She now has the money sent from your account, and you're left responsible for this payment plus the overdraft charges.

Or it could be something else. There are all sorts of scams out there, and I'd be very cautious about thinking, "I can't think of a way a person would scam me with this set up." Maybe the scammer is more imaginative than you are!

The fact that she has a Facebook page proves little. She could have pulled random pictures off the Internet and made a FB page. She could have copied someone else's FB page. Do you even know it's really her FB page? Maybe she just pointed you to a page of someone who looked like a nice, family person?

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Although this is a year old, I feel there is an important point that has been missed so far, so I am adding another answer to address it.

In your question, you mention that the scammer asked you to open an account at a specific financial institution. Whenever this happens, it can be very important that you alert that institution that they are the target of a scam.

Scammers spend a lot of time and effort looking for cracks to exploit. Although there are banking industry regulations and best practices that defeat many scams, financial institutions do have a lot of leeway in how they design and operate their services. Hence, scammers will often try to learn about these differences, and then exploit any vulnerabilities they find.

For instance, if a particular credit union allows new accounts to be opened online, and then instantly gives access to a $200 courtesy overdraft, scammers will try to get new accounts opened just to immediately pull that $200 out and walk away.

Or, another potential scenario. A particular institution may allow for mobile check deposits, and they may have a threshold for their quality process such that only a tiny percentage of checks under $300 are checked by a human. Further, the institution allows $100 of funds availability against mobile checks, prior to them clearing. The scammer can deposit an obviously fake check, immediately pull the $100, and then walk away.

All of these scenarios depend on scammers knowing the rules at a specific bank or credit union. Once they learn of these loopholes, they will often try to milk them for as long as possible - they may pull the scam a few times a month, in the hopes that they can stay under the radar and not be detected. The bank knows they are losing money, but it's written off as white noise and the cost of providing convenience to their customers.

However, if the institution is able to determine that these "conveniences" are being exploited by a scammer, they may choose to either change their policies, or implement additional quality measures or fraud processes to stop the exploit. The bad news is, many of these scammers are smart enough to keep the volume low, and remain undetected. Often, a customer informing the institution about the scam is the actual trigger that puts the scam on the radar.

So, by informing the institution, you may be able to play an important role in stopping the scam. Often, if the institution becomes aware, and they learn the details about how the scam is running, they can look back through history and pick out other victims and help law enforcement catch the criminals (as often as people like to portray online scammers as foreigners, it's often the case that they're quite local to their victims). Even if the scammer is never caught, the institution can react in a way that cuts off the scammer's ability to exploit other people.

If you don't tell them, you may be allowing them to continue to exploit other people, unchecked.

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