This is a really weird situation. A guy contacted me regarding a business I have. He offered far in excess of my stated fees and even told me he could help me financially if I needed it, which I do. He said he was a doctor. Before he even showed up, he gave me his bank account and routing number and full name, which I used to pay some utility bills. All the payments went through. He also sent me $2500 through PayPal, and I received an email that I had received the payment, though it's been 24 hours and it still hasn't shown up in my "recent activity" in my account. But at the time when I met him, I had no reason to doubt the whole thing was real.
So we met, and through conversation he seemed totally legit. Halfway through our session, he abruptly left — he claimed he was being called in to the hospital. He had already received some, but not all, of the services we had agreed to. He said he would come back in a few hours. Oh yeah, and since the PayPal funds hadn't gone through yet, and I needed cash to pay rent, he said his "financial advisor" would be wiring me $800 a couple hours later. Well, I never heard back from him and never got a call about a wire transfer. In retrospect it all seems very obviously a scam, except for the fact that he gave me a bank account number that actually worked as far as paying some bills!
My question is, assuming the PayPal payment never goes through — I never got an email saying that it was cancelled, but it isn't showing up in my payments either. I'm planning on calling PayPal if it hasn't gone through by tomorrow. But assuming that payment doesn't go through, how can I use the bank account info to get the payment he promised me as far as the services I provided? Other than paying all my utilities in advance? You'd think with an account number and routing number and full name, I would be able to withdraw money somehow, but I really have no idea how. And since it isn't under my name, I can't make a payment on my student loans. I wouldn't take more than he owed me, but it would really be nice to at least get that, even if I didn't get the $2500 he had promised me.
You always hear about not letting people see your account number and stuff like that, but it seems impossible to do anything with this info even though I have it! If scamming people with their bank account number is so easy, how do scammers do it? So I'm wondering two things:
- What legal way can I take what I am owed from this guy?
- What illegal way do people use this info if they had it? I don't want to get in trouble, but I'm just curious because you always hear how easy it is.
(Oh, and I never actually saw his ID so I don't know that the name & bank info he gave me was actually his, he could have stolen it from someone, though he really didn't seem like a hacker — he was a middle aged black man who was very smart-sounding, polite, soft spoken, and he seemed to have a lot of knowledge that a real doctor would have. I have a college degree and am very skeptical in general and careful about not being scammed and I've never had an experience even close to this, and the whole time I kept thinking "is this guy for real?" but since the utility stuff had gone through, it seemed legit. And nothing he did sent up a red flag like he might be a criminal or something. But later I googled the name and couldn't find a doctor by that name, at least not in the state he said he lives in. And since he said he would be contacting me last night, and he never did, it seems obvious that he planned the whole thing, but it just makes no sense to me.)