Would it be really bad if I withdrew some of the money the scammer sent me that I "won" to keep for myself and then tell my bank that I think I've been scammed?


8 Answers 8


Removing the money from the account does not change the fact that it is not yours because you got it through fraud. Not knowing it's fraud doesn't change it either.

All you will accomplish is that when it gets reversed, the bank charges you an overdraft fee, and you have to pay it back then. If you already spent it, it becomes a loan with whatever interest the bank thinks it likes. Either way, it's simply going to cost you extra.

Aside from that, as mentioned in another answer, once a normal average person should have realized it's fraud, you can't claim ignorance anymore, and you would become a part of the fraud. Claiming to be more stupid than a normal average person is not an excuse either.


Yes, committing fraud is really bad.

I am assuming this is the same scam you posted about here.

As the answer states in that question, that deposit is going to be clawed back as fraudulent and you will owe the money to the bank. By spending it, especially KNOWING it was fraud you become complicit and could be investigated by law enforcement.

Don't do it. There is no way you are going to be able to keep the money.

  • what if i spent some before i found out it was fraud will they still hold it against me? Commented Apr 21, 2022 at 3:44
  • 22
    @KaylaDavidson YES. Do not spend the money.
    – TripeHound
    Commented Apr 21, 2022 at 11:15
  • 14
    @KaylaDavidson Moreover, this entire discussion could be used in a subsequent investiation to prove that you intentionally committed fraud, and things will go badly for you. Commented Apr 22, 2022 at 8:50
  • 2
    @KaylaDavidson Contact your bank. NOW.
    – Mast
    Commented Apr 22, 2022 at 15:49

No, because it's not your money, and besides that, it wasn't even the scammer's money.

If you stole it, you wouldn't steal the scammer's money, you'd (try to) steal another victim's money.

The money you received is in most cases the money of another victim. It can also be a forged cheque, but as you received it through an online transfer, it's likely just money they've sent you from the account of another victim.

It's relatively easy to get the banking data of someone, through spyware, phishing, tech support scams, stolen credit cards, etc. It's more difficult for the scammers to actually get hold of the money. So instead of sending the money from hacked accounts to themselves and risk getting caught, they transfer the money to you, it's you who they want to trick into taking the money out and sending it to the scammers through an untraceable and irreversible channel. When the original victims realize that their accounts have been emptied, they will report the fraud, and guess what, you are the one who took that money. You'll be accused of theft or money laundering.

This is why you must not touch that money, and it's even a good idea to make a statement (and have written proof of it!) that you have nothing to do with that money and you suspect the transfer was fraudulent.

  • 3
    More likely, the way this scam typically works, there is no money. The transaction is fake, but it can sometimes take the bank up to 2 weeks to figure that out. They will make the money available to you in the meantime in good faith, but they will eventually figure it out and reverse it. If you try and spend it, you're spending the bank's money, and they will get it back. That's what banks are especially good at.
    – Seth R
    Commented Apr 22, 2022 at 14:09

There is no way to benefit "innocently" from a fraud.

The best you can hope for is to break even after everything settles, if you don't count the hassle (there WILL be hassle).

And it is possible to break even just because the bank is forced (by the law) to absorb the collaterals (there are always some collaterals).

If you benefit, chances are you will be investigated and likely prosecuted as a part of a fraud gang.


Assuming this is related to the question you posted previously. I think it's important to look at how this scam typically works to understand why trying to spend the money is a bad idea.

So here's how the scam works:

  1. Scammer "deposits" $9500 into your account from a fake overseas bank. The money isn't actually real.
  2. Because the sending bank is overseas, it takes your bank extra time to verify whether or not the transaction is real, sometimes 2-3 weeks. But they make the money available to you in good faith that everything is legit. Your account now shows you have $9500 more.
  3. Scammer asks you to send the money back (to a different real bank account) with a promise that you will get more if you comply.
  4. You send $9500 to the scammer's account. This transaction is real and really debits your account by $9500.
  5. Your bank figures out the original transaction was fake and reverses it. Your account goes down $9500 again.
  6. The scammer is now $9500 richer and disappears, your account is down $9500 from where it started. If that sends it into a negative amount, your bank comes after you to make up the difference, likely charging overdraft fees on top of it.

The bottom line is, you won't be keeping the money because it isn't real in the first place. If you try and withdraw any of it, you will be on the hook for it when your bank gets around to reversing the transaction. That money belongs to the bank and they will get it back from you.

You are better off reporting the fraud to your bank today so they can get started on the investigation. You haven't done anything wrong yet, so you don't hav any thing to fear from this. The sooner they can get that done, the sooner the dust will settle and you can put this debacle behind you.


Like I stated in a comment on one of the answers on your first question:

Don't touch that money, don't try to spend it, don't withdraw it, don't transfer it.

Leave it where it is, and notify the bank that you suspect you may have received a fraudulent payment. You may also want to notify the police. They probably won't be able to do anything, but at least it shows good faith, and lessens the chances they knock on your door asking about your participation in some kind of fraud.

If you start withdrawing / moving the money away you may be considered as part of the operation. You certainly don’t want that.

Even if they believe you are a victim, it is highly likely they will reverse the transfer soon and come looking for the money. They will not be impressed if you try to prevent them from taking it back, and your “victim” status will evaporate.


If you know enough to be able to tell your bank that you were scammed, clearly you know enough to know that the transaction was fraudulent. Also, the mere fact that you're contemplating withdrawing some of the money prior to telling them shows that you're expecting the transaction to be reversed.

If you withdraw it, you'd be knowingly and deliberately benefiting from fraud. I'm not a lawyer, but I suspect that this would put you in a bad position legally (and certainly financially, given that the transaction will almost certainly be reversed once the bank finds out that it was fraudulent).

Most likely the money was stolen from some other victim in the first place, so the money rightfully belongs to them, not you.


You won't have to worry about fraud. Your bank will have a hard time believing you. Your argument is 'I've won some money which I'm withdrawing and the person who scammed me sent me money'

Bank: So where Miss do you think you have been scammed. They said they will send you money. They have. You now have it. Problem?

If you think hard about it, by taking the money out and claiming its a scam means you're defrauding the scammer AND the bank and you calling them is quite literally admitting it.

Just take all the money out and close your bank account. Open another account with the money you have at a different bank. Then you're not commiting fraud, you're not being defrauded and you get to keep the money! Yay

^ this last paragraph was obviously sarcasm for anyone without a brain. Don't commit fraud

  • 1
    You’re joking on the last paragraph, right? Commented Apr 22, 2022 at 0:31
  • @FelipePereira absolutely!
    – Barb
    Commented Apr 22, 2022 at 8:43
  • 9
    I have a hard time figuring out where sarcasm starts and ends in this answer. As written, I think it's very confusing what your actual message is. It's better to clearly spell out the facts, and clearly mark hypothetical situations as such.
    – marcelm
    Commented Apr 22, 2022 at 9:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .