Someone is offering to pay me in a sort of sugar daddy/sugar baby arrangement. They want to make online deposits to me, and they're asking me for my online banking username and password. Is that information alone enough for them to be able to take my money out of my account, or am I safe?

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they're asking me for my online banking username and password. is that information alone enough for them to be able to take my money out of my account, or am i safe?

They don't need that information to deposit funds to your account, and having that information will allow them to take money out of your account. You are being set up to be robbed. In the fine print of the terms of service with your bank you probably agreed not to give your password to anyone else, so if your account gets emptied the bank may not be very sympathetic.

Do not give your bank password to anyone, and be extremely suspicious of anyone who asks for it.

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    I would add: "call the police on anyone who asks your bank password" – Daniel Jul 10 at 13:15
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    @Daniel: "Call the police" is usually a bad idea. Even if you're totally innocent of whatever scam is going on, your name is now connected to it. And in OP's case, being that it's a "sugar daddy" situation, they might be involved in sex work, in which case police awareness of them is almost certainly a serious problem. – R.. Jul 10 at 14:58
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    Don't call "911" emergency, but definitely get connected to law enforcement. If you're not educated enough to know whether something is a scam, law enforcement can point to resources that helps you. "Call the police" is not always a 911 emergency call. – Nelson Jul 10 at 16:03
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    @dgnuff a sugar daddy/sugar baby arrangement is definitely not philanthropy, and plenty of people do engage in it. – Kat Jul 10 at 19:56
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    @coinbird Having reported cyber-crime to the FBI myself and discussed it with an investigating officer, my understanding is that the FBI will happily take the information and keep a record of it. They will never tell you if or when or how they investigate, but that's no reason not to report. You definitely don't have to "hustle your ass off" in any way at all. One of the benefits of reporting is that it adds to the information available for investigations and prosecutions, even if one report doesn't result in prosecution, it will help down the road. – Todd Wilcox Jul 10 at 20:09

In addition to the simpler "it's a scam" answers, part of the sugar daddy arrangement is control. If the sugar daddy doesn't get what he wants, he should have control of the sugar baby account to take back his money or re-assert control. This ranges from controlling the bank accounts to having control of credit cards or paying rent. If he isn't kept happy, he has an immediate ability to terminate access to housing, transport, and money.

Conceivably the sugar daddy could simply set up access to one of his accounts for you, but that weakens his level of control as compared to controlling your accounts. Him cutting you off from your money puts the power in his hands.

Another aspect of control is also surveillance. If the sugar arrangement is exclusive the daddy will want to see accounts to make sure it is exclusive.

To be clear - I think answers that this is simply a scam to steal your money are more likely. However there is an additional insidious angle with the sugar daddy arrangement.

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    +1 This is of course the real reason (or concern). Going into a sugar babe relation doesn't just mean getting money for nothing. – Damon Jul 11 at 7:49
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    Of course this means that there's no reason OP can't create a dummy account that she does give to the Sugar Daddy. This would limit the exposure to potential losses, though getting money out may be difficult without raising suspicion or giving away the other account info. It'd probably be best to use this account via like a debit card, then extract cash from ATMs or make purchases directly. That way the Daddy can't get access to the account information of any direct transfers. – Nate Diamond Jul 12 at 1:40
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    Even if you use a dummy account, most banks strictly forbid giving your login credentials to anyone, even your wife. They can and will freeze access, deny liability and may even take legal action if something happens and they find out you shared your password. – tobiv Jul 12 at 1:45
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    In addition to potentially "cutting you off", it's also about surveillance. Even if he never threatens to cut you off, every purchasing decision you make is now under his review. – brian_o Jul 12 at 15:38
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    @James I think the point here is that a "relationship" with that level of power imbalance is easily capable of easily being just as bad or worse than just plain financial theft. Theft happens and then you shut the gates - it's a one-time event - abuse of life-controlling leverage in a relationship can actively change a life for decades before it's stopped and can wreak lasting psychological damage that a theft can never hope to cause. – mtraceur Jul 13 at 20:11

Criminals seek people who want to give or sell their bank accounts so that they can use the accounts for money laundering. One such group are students who are known to sell their accounts on after they graduate. Once the criminal has a bank account they can insert money into the financial system and make it appear legitimate.

Don't do it, report it to the bank immediately.

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    Report what to the bank? "A guy asked for my password" That's not illegal. The bank will say "Ok, don't give it to him..." – coinbird Jul 10 at 15:49
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    @coinbird A friend of mine used to work in some sort of fraud prevention team at a large bank. They would have loved to receive any sort of identifying information pertaining to the scammer. – BooleanCheese Jul 10 at 17:48
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    @BooleanCheese That's a nice anecdote, but they absolutely won't do anything with the fake name and email address this guy gave her. And it being based on some low level phishing? Waste of everyone's time. – coinbird Jul 10 at 19:49
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    @coinbird Fake names and fake email addresses are still information that could be useful. They may use the same fake info in multiple scams, which ties them to multiple crimes. That being said, I wouldn't report them here if OP is involved in sex work actively and this wasn't just some random proposition. – Rob Rose Jul 11 at 2:35
  • @coinbird it is surely a fake name, but it's a real e-mail address that can be used to communicate with the person. This could be useful for any of a number of reasons, for example, it could be used to extract other information that could lead to an arrest and conviction. – phoog Jul 11 at 2:58

OF COURSE it is a scam --- DO NOT give ANYONE your banking login

-- to pay money TO you, all they need is your bank account number (8 digits) and sort code (6 digits) - NOTHING ELSE.

If he's asking for your login, he wants to STEAL your money.

As others said - stay away / report to police.

Good luck

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    Note that the structure and length of account details is not standard internationally (there is a standard format for international transfers, but it's not the one you describe), and the question doesn't say what country this is in. Other than that, this doesn't really add anything not already said in other answers. If you're new to the format of this site, you might want to take the tour. – IMSoP Jul 11 at 12:16
  • Not only are account numbers not internationally standard, they're not even necessarily standard between 2 banks in the same country. Account number lengths vary from bank to bank here in the U.S. Small, local banks tend to have shorter account numbers, while very large national banks have much longer ones. – reirab Jul 11 at 21:45
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    @reirab: Yes and no. My credit union account is 4 digits when I visit in person, everywhere else it needs 8 leading zeros :-) – jamesqf Jul 12 at 5:18
  • @reirab Good point. Even in the UK, Building Societies traditionally use "roll numbers" and other internal schemes; for external transfers, you have to specify that as the payment reference against a generic account number for the entire society (like paying a bill). – IMSoP Jul 12 at 12:39
  • @jamesqf 8 digits is what I was thinking of as an example of 'short.' ;) My accounts with large U.S. banks are much longer than that, while my accounts with local banks are just 8. Also, routing codes are 9 digits here, not the 6 mentioned in the answer. – reirab Jul 12 at 14:32

First, you really need to explain more about this "sort of sugar daddy/sugar baby arrangement". Have you signed up for one of the sites that set up such arrangements? Do you know the person? Negotiated details of your "arrangement"? Given them a taste of the "sugar"? If not, then why would you think Daddy is going to be interested in paying you (yet).

Second, and the smoking gun that this is a scam, you don't need the bank account password to make deposits, just the account number. It's possible that a potential sugar daddy might want to pay via bank transfer, just the account number.

  • Unforunately even the account number is not secure. – user207421 Jul 11 at 0:12
  • More likely, someone actually engaging in such behavior - particularly in places where it's not legal - would use cash rather than a bank transfer. Bank transfers are 100% traceable and make great evidence at a trial. Cash is much more of a pain to track (and much less likely to raise suspicion for the person doing the paying... though making periodic large cash deposits might raise suspicion for the person receiving the payments, particularly if they are of the young age most common in arrangements of this nature.) – reirab Jul 11 at 21:50
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    @reirab: We don't know that the OP is in a place where it's not legal. Direct deposits are quite common, after all. My consulting fees (and salary back in the day) are paid that way, I pay my taxes to the government that way, my credit card & other bills, horse expenses to my friend... Had I any intention of being a sugar daddy, I'm sure I would handle things through direct deposit. – jamesqf Jul 12 at 5:23
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    @EJP why would an IBAN be dangerous to give? (it is not at least in France) – WoJ Jul 13 at 9:09
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    @origimbo direct debit in France requires your signature in order to be processed. The signature can be forged of course, this is why it is always the bank fault when there is a draft you do not agree with. Some banks will allow DD without your signature, again taking the risk. You are correct that checking your account for this is the way to go (or actually - the DD drawers, one usually has this in their online account). – WoJ Jul 13 at 15:38

Unfortunately I have seen "legitimate" online services that verify your account details via your username and password:

Online money management applications: Do you trust Mint.com or Quicken Online, or other personal finance tools online?

This is a terrible idea and you shouldn't do it, but it does make it possible that your correspondent isn't scamming you.

(There is, of course, still a decent chance that he is scamming you after all. Certainly he could use that information to do so. But it's not the only possible explanation.)

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    Yes, it is the only possible explanation. There is no chance this is legitimate. Any glimmer of hope you provide to a potential scammee could be enough to make them give up on their doubts. A hard line must be drawn against all fraudulent activity, of which this is one. Yes, there is a Prince of Wales, but he won't email me about Her Majesty's Royal Lottery Winnings, so there's no point pretending such a contact 'might' be legitimate. This falls into the same camp. – Grade 'Eh' Bacon Jul 11 at 14:54
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    They have systems that make it hard (but not impossible) for people to see the information you enter, including their own employees. Most websites that you login to cannot see your passwords (which is why you have to "reset" them if you forget them). Giving your password to such a system is way different than giving it to some individual person. – Clay07g Jul 11 at 17:05
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    Very true answer. Unfortunately, recently a number of services have appeared that handle money for you by asking for your bank account credentials, and they are actually legitimate businesses (doing their business in a horrible, horrible way that teaches people all the wrong things). This scam and others like it might be riding on that wave. Not that us security experts hadn't predicted this would happen. – Tom Jul 12 at 4:42
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    The premise of this answer is correct (there are sties that require your banking credentials), but the conclusion is incorrect ("it does make it possible that your correspondent isn't scamming you"). The last sentence of the comment by @Clay07g explains why. – TTT Jul 12 at 18:35
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    @tobiv All encryption is technically reversible, if you have the proper keys. If you don't have these keys (99% of employees that work at the company), it takes several billion years to decrypt with a normal computer. Plaintext password storage is almost never used nowadays. – Clay07g Jul 12 at 20:59

protected by mhoran_psprep Jul 11 at 10:17

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