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It is pretty common in the United States that employers direct deposit paychecks into bank accounts which require they have your routing and account number.

Is there a mechanism that prevents the employer from withdrawing money from the account during or post employment? If not, are there common simple ways to protect your account post employment?

  • Possible duplicate of Is there such a thing as a deposit-only bank account? – yoozer8 Mar 26 at 19:15
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    Down voter care to provide constructive feedback so I can improve the question? – UnhandledExcepSean Mar 26 at 19:16
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    Note that your account number is on every check you write. Not exactly a secret number. – Aganju Mar 26 at 20:56
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    @Aganju Not everyone writes checks or even has them. I get cashier's checks when I need to, but that is a rarity due to electronic payments. – UnhandledExcepSean Mar 26 at 21:09
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    Urgh, this sounds terrible to even consider that this could be done? I'm Dutch and being formally employed since (uhm) 1983 I've always had my pay being "deposited" (we'd say transferred) directly into my bank account. Never ever did I or 99.999% of anyone else here consider this to be a security threat. No way you can just take out money with just the account number and a name. – Paul Palmpje Mar 26 at 21:51
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Unfortunately the USA has very little inherent banking security. Someone with your bank account details does not need any further "secret" information to make withdrawals.

Some banks will use heuristic measurements to guess what transactions are suspicious and put them through further scrutiny. But there is nothing in the system to prevent fraud.

In a normal US bank account with ACH access there is no real way to protect yourself from fraud apart from constantly checking the account and cross referencing to see if transactions were all legitimate and attempting to dispute them through a complaints process with the bank if not.

TLDR, no there isn't anything physically preventing this other than the threat of legal action if someone actually catches it happening.

  • So, the only preventative measure would be to get a new bank account number, right? – UnhandledExcepSean Mar 26 at 21:07
  • @UnhandledExcepSean That would (potentially) prevent people taking money from the old account. But would only be a defense precisely once, unless you plan to change the account number every time you make any kind of payment. – Vality Mar 26 at 21:20
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It is pretty common in the United States that employers direct deposit paychecks into bank accounts which require they have your routing and account number.

Yes.

Is there a mechanism that prevents the employer from withdrawing money from the account during or post employment? If not, are there common simple ways to protect your account post employment?

Laws. If you have genuine concerns that an employer would do this, don't work there.

  • This. I'm almost positive the same is true in most other countries (it is in Germany). Unless your boss has plans to move to a country that has no extradition agreements with other countries, you're likely fairly safe (due to the extreme ease of proving the crime and finding the culprit) – xyious Mar 28 at 15:23

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