Is it a scam ?

Talking to a female person in the army, she was deported to Africa (which of course red flags came up). She told me her mother can't because she doesn't feel good so her commander is going to send money to my empty account which she wanted username, password, routing number, checking account number, and security question/answers.

She tells me it's not a scam and she has been scammed in the past on Facebook for winning 100,000 and then she deleted her account. What makes it even more weird is that every time I talk to her she mentions if the debit card will come in the mail. I have not spoken to her on the phone yet and she isn't allowed to speak unless she gets permission to use the phone from her commander.

Note: Supposedly she is In the Air Force she just got deported to Africa about a week ago.

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    They want your password and security questions..... you can't make the scam more obvious than that. – David says Reinstate Monica Oct 3 '16 at 4:32
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    The reason this scam is so obvious is that there is absolutely no reason they would need to involve a stranger (you) in the process.Unless, of course, they are doing something illegal and need someone to take the fall if it goes south. That said, they are probably just trying to steal from you. – JohnFx Oct 3 '16 at 5:54
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    It surprises me that you have to ask. – vascowhite Oct 3 '16 at 6:43
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    "Is it a scam if an unknown person depsoits money into my account and asks me to-" YES, IT IS. – Angew is no longer proud of SO Oct 3 '16 at 11:51
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    If this is the US, the story is totally ridiculous. Active personnel do not get deported. Being in the military is one route to citizenship. If the person committed a crime, he or she would be put into a military prison and/or thrown out of the military. Likely these scammers are using a ridiculous story because they are looking for gullible people. – JimmyJames Oct 3 '16 at 18:12

Some additional information for the people who may read this question in the future:

The situation is weird, to say the least. I'm going to assume 2 things:

  1. You two (you and the person who contacted you) don't know each other.
  2. You have only talked via e-mail, not voice.

Now, look at these classic it's-a-scam red flags:

  1. Random person contacts you.
  2. They want to do something with your bank account.
  3. They won't give out details about them, but will request/demand all sorts of personal/private details from you.
  4. They are in trouble. Or it's urgent. They want you to act fast (haste makes waste).
  5. Yet they can still communicate with you via internet/phone.

In these conditions, it is not safe to give even the smallest shred of information to such people.

I'd advise you to ignore this person (best option), or offer to get them in touch with an official (most scammers will run away at this point), or threaten to report them (not recommended, the scammer may take insult and try to "get back at you").

Hope this post helps and nobody gets scammed!

EDIT: Thank you for the amazing welcome! If I'd have known I'd get such a huge response, I'd have written a better answer ;) (I hope I'm not breaking any rules by this edit)

  • So, why >50% of all these money scams have to involve Africa? – Mindwin Oct 3 '16 at 20:26
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    @Mindwin - The goal is to screen in people who have money and screen out those who have sense. A well-written email would probably trick at least 50% of people into responding, but only a microscopic percentage would actually be dumb enough to send money (resulting in a lot of the scammer's time being wasted). By throwing up a load of red flags that should warn the recipient they're being scammed, they can screen out all of the smart people, leaving only the idiots. – Valorum Oct 3 '16 at 20:31
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    For the same reason that 70% of all doughnut shops in California are run by Cambodians: one guy got very successful doing it and he taught his cousins and his neighbors and the people he knew how to do the same thing. It isn't that Nigerians are natural email scammers, any more than Khmer are natural bakers. – Malvolio Oct 3 '16 at 20:32
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    I'd say its because Africa is a foreign or exotic continent for most people. I'd hazard a guess that Americans or Europeans are more familiar with each other (in terms of culture, politics and history) than they are with Africa. So they may think that He's from Africa, its a backwater continent, filled with noble savages. Yes, it happens, sometimes we forget that "rustic" or "backwards" people are still humans, they too have brains and cunning , just like everyone else. If that same email came from N. America or Europe, they'd tell the sender to mind their own business or to get a job :) – fraglord Oct 4 '16 at 7:44

Yes. It is a scam.

The story makes no sense. They just want your info to steal your money.

Regarding requests to know how it works:

The scammer is requesting:

username, password, routing number, checking account number, and security question/answers.

They now have access to your bank account. They will have access until you are able to shut it down. Once they have your password, they can change it to whatever they want.

It can be used to launder money, steal money from other accounts you have, proof of identity...

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    BTW: The way the scam will work is that they WILL deposit a check in the account. You will send the money from the account. The fake check will bounce a few days later and your bank balance will go negative meaning you owe the bank the money you sent to Africa. They will disappear with your money. – JohnFx Oct 3 '16 at 6:00
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    @JohnFx, not necessarily. Just because that's one scam that could run, it's not necessarily the same they will run. With the information they are asking for they could simply just empty the OP's account (and overdraft it). – NPSF3000 Oct 3 '16 at 19:43
  • please upgrade your question to explain how the scam works – Mindwin Oct 3 '16 at 20:26

Unprintable, yes, it's a scam. Nobody will ever have any legitimate reason to run money through your account. Period.


Yes this is a scam. Stay as far away as possible. Don't talk or send any messages. The more you talk, she would convince you that this is not a scam.

Armed Forces have a very good way of taking care of their people. They don't need to do something like this.


There are lots of red flags here that point to an obvious scam.

First, no one, not even people close to you, ever have a valid reason to get your password or security questions. EVER. The first thing they will do is clean out the account you gave them. The second thing they will do is clean out any account of yours that uses the same password.

Second, no one ever needs to run money through your account for any reason. If its not your money, don't take it.

Third, this person is in the army but was deported to Africa (not to any particular country, just Africa), and is still in the army? This doesn't really make sense at all.

This is a blatant obvious scam.

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    These scams commonly originate in West Africa, probably whey they specifically mentioned that, because they will ask to send the money there. – JohnFx Oct 3 '16 at 5:56
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    I suspect the OP means "deployed" rather than "deported" but yes, it's a scam either way. – Vicky Oct 3 '16 at 9:36
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    @Vicky I think he meant deported. Deployed would be a normal circumstance and wouldn't go with the story – David says Reinstate Monica Oct 3 '16 at 11:18
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    @David Grinberg: Also, a US deployment to Africa (other than Marine embassy guards) would probably make the news. – jamesqf Oct 3 '16 at 18:56
  • @jamesqf It's not a real deployment, it's a made-up story for the sake of a scam. – Vicky Oct 21 '16 at 8:16

Age old rules about money scams:

  1. If a person A wants to send money to person B, they do the following: Person A sends money to person B. Neither of them sends money to you, and you don't send money to either of them. It doesn't make sense!

  2. If you give someone money, be prepared that you might not receive that money back. If someone gives you money, be prepared that they can get that money back.

  3. Illegal money laundering can put you in jail, even if you pretend to be a blameless victim of a scammer.


Yes. It is a scam, and here is how it will work.

They will deposit a phony check into the account which will appear to clear. You will send money to Africa from the account. The check will take a while to bounce, but it will bounce. They will take it back out of your account (and may try to prosecute you for a fake check). At best, your account balance will go negative and you will owe the money back to the bank that you sent. The people you sent the money to will vanish.

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    It probably does, but they can also just take all your money with that information. Important to realize, in case they have a convincing story to show that they don't do that exact scam. – RemcoGerlich Oct 3 '16 at 7:23

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