A friend of my son's won a lot of money from betting on Fan Duel. We can't figure out why the friend asked my son to receive payments related to the guy's winnings. After receiving the transfer of $5,000, my son was supposed to make a payment to the guy for $4,800 via Venmo or Zelle. I have thought of several possible reasons: A: Maybe the guy was visiting NY but lives in a state where Fan Duel sports betting is not legal. B: Maybe the guy was trying to get out of paying the 24% gambling tax on the winnings. C: The other guy may be underage. Can you think of anything else? Any suggestions for how to clean this up for my son?

Notes: my son is 18 and the funds seem to have arrived before my son sent any funds out. (At least this time.) Also, my son has agreed not to use his bank account for this type of nonsense and I explained the typical scam (I'll send you a deposit, you send me the money, and then I cancel the deposit.)


Let's consider that this might be the variation on the classic scam scheme (deposit appears to come into son's account, son sends a Zelle etc. payment, then the deposit is somehow revoked). How does the scammer revoke the deposit and how long does it take?

This question is specifically about Fan Duel. It MIGHT be the classic scam in which the deposit is revoked but it might be something else, e.g. avoiding the 24% gambling tax.

--- update 2-28-22 ---

I read the "duplicate" carefully and also got some additional information from my son, who sent me the following text messages (imagine my follow-up responses in between his messages):

The fan duel was a red herring I completely misunderstood about it.

I had understood that that [Fan Duel] is where the money came from but I got it completely twisted and they were just telling me that in the past they had won money from it.

The person was trying to get their own money out of the original account because they didn't want to bank with that bank anymore and they didn't want to take all of their money out in cash, so they asked me to be the middle man to get the money in a different location so that at a later time they could put the money back into a different bank.

[Me: If this guy is able to transfer money to you from American Express, why can't he transfer it directly to his other bank account?]

They don't have this new account yet. They don't know where they want to bank yet so therefore they wanted to have the funds somewhere else to be able to transfer into a new account at any time.

Well I believe they are in the process of doing it [opening a new account]. I guess they just didn't want the money in the old account anymore.

So that they could have the money in a place that wasn't the bank account and not in cash to transfer to anywhere easily.

(Those of you with younger children: enjoy your current phase of parenting while you can.)

Of all the possible explanations I read at the duplicate Q-A, I currently think laundering of drug money seems the most plausible.

By the way my son told me today that this guy doesn't live in our county any more.

The recommendation to write a letter to the bank sounds good. It was very hard to reach the bank and they weren't very helpful.


  1. My son admits sharing his routing number and account number. He says he shared nothing else. Can he (or I, as I am joint on the account) still send such a letter? What parts should I leave out, if any?

  2. If a letter as recommended in the duplicate Q-A won't work, given that my son voluntarily shared his routing number and account number, are there any other possible steps we can take to protect ourselves?

  3. My son sent the money back via Venmo and Zelle. I have direct access to the Zelle transfers. Not sure about Venmo. Can I cancel the outgoing transfers?

  • 3
    It's essentially the same old scam with a different variation of a backstory. What are the chances that your son has actually met that person? I suspect nil.
    – littleadv
    Feb 27, 2022 at 23:31
  • 2
    Nothing legitimate would be done this way. It could be that that "friend" is trying to scam your son because he read of this scam somewhere and is trying to replicate, being dumb enough, on someone he actually knows. It may make it somewhat easier to point in his direction if money is sourced in something illegal, but unlikely to help recover the lost money.
    – littleadv
    Feb 28, 2022 at 2:40
  • 8
    It doesn't matter how a scam works, and trying to find out can cause you to lose the forest for the trees - if the 'smell test' fails and something smells fishy, it is. Never transfer money through your own account on behalf of someone else. Ever. Feb 28, 2022 at 19:05
  • 1
    Deposit can be revoked months later. If it's an ACH, it's a reversible transaction. If there's fraud involved or a criminal act, you can get cops on your doorsteps years later (depending on the crime, statutes of limitations vary). For example for tax fraud (as the one you suspected in your original post) the Federal statute of limitation is between 6 years to forever (depending on circumstances).
    – littleadv
    Feb 28, 2022 at 20:48
  • 2
    Reading your update, it looks like your son's "friend" skimmed someone else's bank account. Basically, it seems to me that your son laundered stolen money for someone. I doubt you'd be able to reverse the zelle or venmo transaction since it was done voluntarily. The original transaction however is very likely to end up being reversed sooner or later. You can reach out to the bank and try to trace the transaction to the origin and confirm it's authenticity proactively, but I doubt the bank would do that - it's a lot of work for them for no reason.
    – littleadv
    Feb 28, 2022 at 20:57

2 Answers 2


Most likely, it's a complete scam.

The chances are that the money doesn't even belong to the person making the payment. Maybe they have taken over somebody's bank account.

Your son receives the money, and pays out $4800 by a means that cannot be reversed.

Eventually the real owner of the money starts chasing where their money has gone. There is a high chance that the transaction will be reversed.

Your son ends up down $4800, with the bank chasing him to pay it back as he will now be overdrawn.

  • Please see update and 3 questions. Thank you. Feb 28, 2022 at 19:50
  • Federal agents. You forgot to mention that the son gets to spend the day in a room talking to federal agents!
    – Damila
    Mar 1, 2022 at 5:37

At some point the payment will either be reversed or discovered to be fraudulent i.e. the money never existed in the first place. Your son will be out the $5,000 and won't be able to recover the $4,800 which will have been transferred by some irreversible means.

If someone really wanted to transfer $4,800 to someone else they would have just done that themselves and not involved a third party to do so.

Report the money to whatever bank or institution the $5,000 is sitting in.

  • Please see update and 3 questions. Thank you. Feb 28, 2022 at 19:49

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