84

A man in west coast Austria wants to deposit money into my account. I'm in Alabama.

I had to get an online account. I did that, but he says his bank manager needs all this information:

  • DOB
  • SSN
  • online access username
  • online access password
  • security question and answer
  • bank name
  • bank address
  • bank number
  • person who is on the account
    • their name
    • their address
  • account no
  • routing no

OK. Is it safe to do this or am I being scammed? I don't want him to be able to end up withdrawing all my money instead of depositing money.

  • 158
    Never give out the first 5 items to anyone. – Dheer Aug 4 '15 at 3:25
  • 189
    Free clue: any time a complete stranger offers to put money in your bank account, it's a scam. – David Richerby Aug 4 '15 at 10:19
  • 127
    @Jay There's no question that this is a scam. NO ONE ever has any legitimate reason to ask for your bank username, password, and security questions/answers. Even your bank won't ask for your password or security question answers! – reirab Aug 4 '15 at 13:24
  • 42
    Note that a classic scam runs as follows: They deposit 1000 dollars into your account, and have you transfer some portion of it to someone else. But their deposit went in as a check and will be retroactively voided (yes, that can be done for a while after your bank says the check cleared!), but your payment was via wire transfer or gift card or some other mechanism that can't be cancelled. So even if they DON'T ask for all this info it's a scam "If it sounds too good to be true, it isn't true. Period. – keshlam Aug 4 '15 at 14:59
  • 30
    Assuming this question is real, kudos to you for being brave enough to ask. I imagine a lot of people who aren't sure are too afraid of looking foolish to ask. – jpmc26 Aug 5 '15 at 1:20
291

You're most definitely being scammed. You're being asked all the information required to steal your identity and take over your bank account.

And Austria is land-locked, it has no west coast (or any coast, for that matter).

  • 26
    This guys seems like an amateur asking for all that information. The pros can do it with just the first two information. – NuWin Aug 4 '15 at 6:35
  • 12
    Perhaps the scammer lives in Rust or Moerbisch am See, on the west coast of Lake Neusiedl. ;-) – David Richerby Aug 4 '15 at 10:18
  • 125
    Claiming to be from the west coast of Austria is not a stupid idea, it's actually a very intelligent filtering tactic scammers like to use to identify the more gullible victims. Sending the first e-mail is very cheap, they probably sent this same "offer" to many other people. However, replying to the individual answers of the targets costs them a lot of effort, so they only like to receive answers from the most gullible, as to not waste their time with people who will have a high likelihood of figuring it out. (research.microsoft.com/pubs/167719/WhyFromNigeria.pdf). – vsz Aug 5 '15 at 6:10
  • 46
    Either that, or he is a time-traveler from 1860, when Austria did have a coast. – vsz Aug 5 '15 at 6:11
  • 4
    @vsz Hah, right. Although even then, it wouldn't make much sense to call it the west coast - it was the only coast :D And of course, most people would still just say "Croatia" (or whatever it was called back then), just like you wouldn't really call India "British coast" :D – Luaan Aug 5 '15 at 7:12
99

I wonder if your rational thinking is getting confused by the prospects of getting some deposit from that person?

He needs, amongst other things :

•online access username

•online access password

Ok, so you have 1000 in your account. They deposit 500 and you are happy. Then they take out all 1500 and you're done :) How can you not think it is a scam when you're giving them your login as well.

Here is an analogy. Some stranger asks you for keys of your home (while you're away) and tells you he will just go in place a gift inside your door and go away. Would you give him your keys and come home later expecting a gift to be there and nothing taken away?

Is it a scam if the person only wants to deposit into my account, not make a withdrawal?

Who is to tell?

P.S: Sorry, please don't mind the rest of this answer but from it could also be related to a new relationship that you are in. Going ahead with this might cause you a lot of emotional harm as well. You seemingly trust that person when there are obvious signs that you are being defrauded, possibly in the name of love.

  • 30
    A very good analogy. If someone wants to delivery something, they just need your address and can drop into your letter box. If they are asking for keys as well as codes to disable the burglar alarm, well it should definitely ring alarm bells :) – Dheer Aug 4 '15 at 8:00
  • 29
    But if you give them the codes to your burglar alarm, then it WON'T ring alarm bells. That's why they want the codes. :-) – Jay Aug 4 '15 at 13:12
  • 4
    @reirab unfortunately, romance scams are a real thing. I'm not saying that's what this is, just that it's not as unlikely as you think. – jcm Aug 5 '15 at 3:55
  • 3
    @Hanky웃Panky: Even if the scammers had no means of withdrawing money themselves, they might arrange to have $500 deposited fraudulently via some traceable method, and then ask the victim to forward $400 of it somewhere else, keeping $100 as a commission. If the victim forwards $400, the scammer will get $400 and when the $500 deposit bounces the victim will be on the hook for at least $400 beyond his $100 "commission". If the victim doesn't forward anything, the scammer loses nothing and the victim would likely be on the hook for service charges beyond the $500. – supercat Aug 5 '15 at 16:50
  • 6
    @reirab Nope, that's a common scam. Someone from abroad enters an online relationship with you and then X happens and they need to borrow £100 then Y happens and they need 500...before you know it they need £5000 for a visa to come see you, then their car crashes on the way to the airport and they need another £5000 to fix it...etc etc – Tim B Aug 6 '15 at 12:44
46

All that's needed to deposit into your account are two things

  • your account number
  • an international bank identifier

Bank identifier is could be SWIFT code, IBAN, or similar routing number. an ABA routing number a similar idendifier used by US banks.

It's a scam.

A variant scam deposits too much money in your account and then requests you repay the excess before canceling the deposit. If a stranger deposits money and then asks you to repay some. Do not do so. contact your bank instead.

  • 14
    US Routing number is all that is needed, at least to put money in, from outside the US, as most all the non-US banks have US bank partners (typically in NY) who actually handle the transfer. My US Credit Union does not have a Swift code, but I have received lots of transfers from customers in Europe and elsewhere based purely on "routing number." All due to the partner US banks the foreign (origination) banks have. – chadbag Aug 4 '15 at 20:48
  • 2
    Even if he only wants these two things, it is also likely to be a scam. Criminals often use this for money-laundering. They have an illegal million. They deposit it in your account and make you give back half of the money. Then, the police comes after you and tells you that the million is stolen and you have to return all of it. You lost half a million. Never trust strangers giving you gifts. – Erel Segal-Halevi Aug 8 '15 at 19:06
  • Actually, IBAN alone is enough, it includes country, bank, and account. But you should not even give these out. There have been successful scams with a valid IBAN being the only piece of information. – Damon Aug 10 '15 at 11:57
  • 1
    In addition, a popular scam is to accidentally send you too much money, and request some of it back. You transfer some back, and then the bank finds out the initial deposit was fraudulent (such as a bounced cheque) and removes it, leaving you out of pocket. – SLC Aug 10 '15 at 14:50
32

It is a scam, other people have given lots of details why. But

online access password

Is ONLY of use to someone that wishes to steal your money. Just including it in the requested information is enough to make it clear it is a scam.

To deposit money into someone accounts only needs.

bank name (can be got from routing no)
bank address (can be got from routing no)
bank number (can be got from routing no)
person who is on the account
    their name
account no
routing no (called "sort code" in the UK)

And maybe (if the deposit is being pay by anyone that needs to report the payment to the government for income tax - at least in the UK)

  • DOB
  • SSN/NI

If the money is coming from a source that must report the payment for tax.

  • 1
    Why is this getting downvoted? – Ian Aug 4 '15 at 13:51
  • 12
    I haven't downvoted, but, as a guess, it might be that you say DOB/SSN might be required for depositing money. I can't think of any scenario under which that would be required, except maybe if you're at the bank wanting to make a deposit yourself and you don't have your account number handy. All you should normally need to give for someone to make a deposit into your account is the routing number (or international equivalent) and account number. You're right that that might be needed by an employer for tax reporting, but it isn't needed to make a deposit. – reirab Aug 4 '15 at 14:19
  • 3
    In the UK, the NI number (our version of SSN) is required if the deposit is being pay by anyone that needs to report the payment to our goverment for income tax. – Ian Aug 4 '15 at 14:44
  • 3
    Since the poster specified they are located in the US, I think the more relevant fact is that one does not need the SSN to deposit into a bank account in the US. If you're paying your employee a salary, then yes, you need their SSN, but not simply to make a deposit. – David Z Aug 4 '15 at 20:34
  • 5
    @Michael Some banks provide accountholders with a separate "deposit-only" account number that can be given out along with the routing number, for direct deposits without any risk of malicious withdrawals. – Dan Henderson Aug 5 '15 at 19:35
11

Absolutely anyone who wants to put money into a stranger's account is a guaranteed scammer and most likely from Nigeria in reality. I know you probably felt like it was your lucky day but in fact it could have been your unluckiest day had you not asked on here, so good on you man. Whenever you're not sure about something just ask, that's what the internet is for, someone's always willing to help.

  • 8
    All of the people I know who actually talk to the scammers are actually old and naïve, rather than young and naïve. I think most young people (who are still old enough to have a bank account) understand that anyone asking for your bank account password is up to something bad. – reirab Aug 4 '15 at 13:32
  • 6
    Age is largely irrelevant... There are plenty of young, over-protected, over-sheltered kids who go to college without knowing how to balance a checkbook - not to mention that kids are more used to sharing everything online these days. To say that either is more/less likely to fall to these scams doesn't change the fact that either end of the age scale has victims. I know plenty of 20 somethings that don't know a dollar from a cassette tape and their parents aren't in a position to teach them. – WernerCD Aug 4 '15 at 14:33
  • 3
    In most countries, Donna is a female name. – JoeTaxpayer Aug 4 '15 at 18:43
  • @JoeTaxpayer I was going to say the same thing.. should edit his/her answer to say "her" instead.. – NuWin Aug 4 '15 at 19:52
  • 3
    "most likely from Nigeria in reality" -- actually even the scammers who claim to be from Nigeria often aren't really. – Steve Jessop Aug 5 '15 at 12:29
5
  • Is it a scam if a stranger wants to do X to my account?
  • Yes. If anyone apart from your close family members want to do anything to your account, it's a scam. Or an extreme level of stupidity, you want to avoid both. Also, if it was them who said about west coast Austria, you can also make fun of them.
  • 10
    This answer is an overstatement. There are definitely cases where someone you don't trust completely can "do something" to your account, and it's okay. A quite common example is an employer making a direct deposit; you even give them the account number. (The scenario the OP describes is definitely a scam, as is any situation where someone asks for your password.) – Mike Haskel Aug 4 '15 at 8:37
  • 3
    Sometimes it may be even a bad idea to give this type of information to you close family members :O – NuWin Aug 4 '15 at 20:01
  • Don't trust your "close family members." One stole a house from me (legally, sadly), another tried to kill my children, and myself when I was younger, and the rest of them scammed each other to death (as far as I can tell, they're awfully hard to find). Do trust people you'd trust your life with, or at least people you trust don't have bad intentions (you should get to know them really good first). – phyrfox Aug 5 '15 at 23:44
  • @phyrfox Not to be paranoid but it is a scam tactic to "prime" a target by getting to know them (or faking it). They will talk about really personal stuff as soon as you meet them to speed up this process and to aid the perception that you really know them; this is also a tactic used by undercover law enforcement. – mchid Aug 6 '15 at 5:02
4

Most answers to this question only address the issue of providing personal information to a scammer. But considering that a lot of questions without the personal information addition get closed as duplicates of this one, I would like to answer the question in the subject:

Why would a scammer deposit money in my account?

There are several criminal schemes which involve this.

  • Money laundering. The money comes from an illegal source. They send you money and ask you to transfer it to a different account. That way the money can no longer be traced back to the criminals. The criminals won't care if you keep the money, because they had no use for the dirty money anyway. However, the original owners and the police will care.
  • Advanced fee fraud. They bait you by promising you a lot of money. But then they find some excuses which require you to pay some money to them before this can happen (or to someone they claim to be someone else but actually is them). After you did that, you will never hear of them again.
3

No. It most probably is not a scam. It most probably is something much worse. In a scam, you may lose some money. In a money laundering operation, you may end up spending prison time.

Imagine saying to the judge: "I did not do all of these illegal transactions, it was a total stranger who only wanted to borrow my account. I am totally innocent".

I would guess that your account would be used when scamming other persons or when transfering illegal money. The money would go into your account, and then sent further. It would to all aspects look like you are doing the scams.

  • It's really all included in the term "scam", which is simply a scheme to dupe someone for fun and profit, but you're making a good point. – Vector Jan 20 '18 at 22:53

protected by Ganesh Sittampalam Aug 4 '15 at 14:00

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality or spam answers that had to be removed, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site (the association bonus does not count).

Would you like to answer one of these unanswered questions instead?

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.