If a minor child with a bank account falls for a scam in which he is told he can make money and must give his personal bank information to the person telling him this, what can happen?

Has anyone been the target of such a scam where they were told you can make money but they needed your bank account info and identification # and they went personally into the bank and received funds from a check that was deposited into the account?

If yes, how did you handle the situation?

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    Timing is not clear, but if this happens to someone you know then they should immediately go to the bank, explain the basics of what happened, and then the account should be secured and changed over - likely with a new account number, etc. You basically report the fraud to the bank, also to the police, and so you try to limit the damage and inform the authorities. If the money was already removed you are unlikely to get it back, but this is still felony bank fraud and the police should be involved to prevent more damage. They might even catch the person with bank cameras! – BrianH Aug 31 '17 at 21:43
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    Based on the comment to Michael's answer, it sounds like you're concerned that the minor could be in legal trouble. It's not illegal to get scammed (unless you set it up on purpose and try to file an insurance claim). So, whether you are an adult or a minor, if you are scammed, you are probably out the money, and that's it. – TTT Sep 1 '17 at 13:02
  • Giving someone your bank account details does not by itself authorize them to withdraw any money from your account. Unless your child specifically gave them permission to withdraw a certain amount from the account, they cannot do anything to the money in the account except through fraud. – user102008 Sep 1 '17 at 16:42

I'd imagine it is the same for an adult. The money probably gets withdrawn and that's it.

However, if the scammer were to go to a branch in person, I'd imagine there would need to be some sort of photo identification to withdraw money. If it were online, then the scammer would also need the account holder's username and password.

Either way, chances are that once the money is gone, it's gone - unless the scammer can be found. Even then, the scammer might not have that money anymore.

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  • Thanks. I was just wondering how it could negatively affect the minor. Teenagers, who are not used to dealing with money and bank accounts, don't always realize that there are scams out there and what they could be setting themselves up for, especially if they think that person is on the level because they may have known them in the past. They are perhaps being told one thing and then have no idea what is actually happening until it is too late, even though they might be a good kid and then it comes back on them. Any words of advice for such a situation. – user62 Aug 31 '17 at 21:26
  • @user62 Hopefully they also don't have enough at stake for it to be a huge problem. Treat it as a lesson learned. – user253751 Sep 1 '17 at 3:51
  • "Teenagers, who are not used to dealing with money and bank accounts, don't always realize that there are scams out there" ... so like anything else new in a teenager's life, parents/guardians need to try to make sure they do understand that "there's bad people out there". – TripeHound Sep 1 '17 at 7:08

If this is a practical, rather than hypothetical, question, the best advice that we could give would be to see a lawyer. If you think your teenager has done something illegal, get a lawyer. The lawyer will then take care of notifying the relevant parties and manage the accusations.

In most cases, it would be sufficient to notify the police directly. They understand the concept of scams, and many of them have teenagers of their own. Most of the time, they will try to work with you rather than against you. But if you are really worried about it, this is what lawyers do. A lawyer can separate the teenager and the police, so the teenager makes no admissions. But the lawyer can get the necessary information to the police so that neither the teenager nor you is subject to an obstruction of justice charge.

We can help you by pointing to resources or suggesting ways to document what has happened or is happening. Or just point out that something is a scam. But if you are worrying about prosecution, we can't really help you. You can't confide the relevant details to us. There is no asker/answerer confidentiality. Everything is published on the internet with archives. Without those relevant details, how good will our advice be?

Talk to a lawyer. The lawyer can tell you what you can and cannot do. And what you tell the lawyer is privileged. So even if you admit criminality, the lawyer can't then tell anyone. And if you're worried that the lawyer might be restricted by what you've said, you can fire the lawyer and hire another.

The first thing to do when you find yourself in a hole is stop digging. Trying to fix things for your teenager is digging. Go to a lawyer and share your concerns. Maybe some of them are groundless. From what you've shared, you could go to the police. But perhaps there is more that we don't know. If so and you are reluctant to share publicly on the internet, that's sensible. Go to a lawyer and share in private.

If you are indigent and can't afford an attorney, look into Legal Aid. They may be in the phone book. If not, call the local bar association and ask for a referral for free legal advice for someone low income. Try to have a generic description of the problem, e.g. you're worried that someone scammed your teenager into doing something illegal.

And just to say this one more time. As you've described things, it seems like you should be able to just go to the police and the bank and describe the scam. I don't hear anything that they would prosecute. If you've left something out that changes things, then a lawyer is the way to go. Then you can disclose everything to get advice.

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  • There are a few variants on this scam, but the way they usually operate is that the scammer deposits a check or money order that turns out to be fraudulent, but that takes the bank a few days for weeks to catch. The bank eventually figures out the deposit is bogus, and comes after the account holder for the funds, including any funds the scammer withdrew. However, the bank may be suspicious that the account holder is working in cahoots with the scammer, or that the account holder is the scammer. Worst case the bank may think about bringing bad check charges against the account holder. – Charles E. Grant Sep 2 '17 at 23:12

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