Many people are not mindful when sharing their banking details and often wonder what can a scammer do with my bank account number? If you are under any misconception that over-sharing personal banking data will not harm you, it’s time to think over it again.
- Scammers can make unauthorized transactions, ACH transfers, do online shopping, or cash checks using bank account number.
- You can avoid banking scams by safeguarding your personal information, setting up multi-factor authentication, using credit cards/prepaid cards as alternatives and keeping a check on monthly statements.
- You should keep details like username, password, security questions, and record of financial transactions completely private.
…and Much More!
What Can a Scammer do With My Bank Account Number?
It is true that someone can not take out funds from your account or make an unauthorized transaction with just the bank account number, but when combined with other types of personal information such as routing number, driver’s license, etc. they will be able to mis-use your bank account in more than just one way.
Transfer Money Without Your Authorization
Anybody who has access to your account number and routing number will be able to send money from your account without your permission.
When we are worried about losing money from our account, most of us don’t consider that obtaining huge amount of funds is equally harmful. If suddenly, money has been sent to your bank and you don’t know the source of funds, it may be possible that someone is setting you up for money laundering or other illegal activities. You should immediately report this to the banking authorities.
Set up ACH Fraud
This is one of the most common types of fraud that can take place if your banking information falls into wrong hands. ACH transfers only required users to provide account number and routing number so any third part can mis-use it to set up bill payments, pay for online shopping via your account, or transfer money to any other account unnoticed.
- ACH frauds have been recurrent in case of commercial banks but now individuals have also reported unauthorized ACH transfers.
Typically, scammers carry out multiple small money transfers so that their activity does not become evident. By the time that these are discovered, large sum of money has already been lost.
Issue Fraudulent Checks With Your Bank Account Information
Bank account number and routing number are all what a scammer needs to cash a check from your account. Now what they can do with the check has countless possibilities. The fraudulent party can use the check to pay for purchases anywhere, deposit the amount into their own account, or also cash the check.
Carry Out Online Shopping
The number of online retailers that have started accepted bank transfer has rapidly increased. Most of these stores only require your full name, bank account number, and routing number in order to complete the money transfer. If the scammer has access to this information, he or she will be able to use your checking account for shopping without permission.
Steps To Protect Your Bank Account From Scammers
There are a number of steps that you can take to make sure that your bank account information is kept safe from online hackers and scammers. We have listed some of the most effective tips below. Take a look!
- Never share your bank account information with anyone except trusted parties.
- Prefer paying through prepaid card or debit card when making purchases online as to avoid giving out information about the bank account.
- Do not shop through websites that seem unreliable or shady. It is also best to avoid online sites that require over-sharing personal data such as credit card number or any type of PIN.
- Moreover, look for trustworthy identity theft protection services.
- Make sure you have activated multi-factor authentication on your bank account.
- Minimize the use of paper checks as much as possible as they leave a paper trail and are unsecure to use.
- Also, choose security questions based on what only you would know.
- Activate additional verification procedures when you link the bank account to a third-party sites such as Amazon, Facebook, or mobile wallets.
- Also, use money transfer apps as much as possible especially if you have to receive funds from an unknown individual.
List of Bank Details That You Should Keep a Secret
You can not keep all the banking details to yourself since there are many instances, like online shopping or receiving funds from others, where you would be required to share them. However, instead of worrying what can someone do with my bank account number, there are a few things that you don’t need to provide to any third-party regardless of the online banking activity that you are performing.
- Online banking details like username
- Security questions
- Records of financial transactions
- Printed bank statements at the end of the month
Can Someone Withdraw Money With My Account Number?
As we mentioned above, scammers can perform ACH transfers to take out checks using your bank account number. So, yes! It is possible that they would take out money from your account with the bank account number only.
These frauds are typically performed on commercial banks that hold large amount of money. However, scammers often tend to avoid withdrawing a large fund immediately to avoid suspicion. Instead, they take out small amounts that would go undetected.
- In recent years, there has been a sharp increase in online frauds targeting medium to small bank account because they have lesser security protocols are easier to invade.
One way to avoid this is to keep a constant check on your billing and expenditure. Financial experts strongly recommend that you check your monthly billing thoroughly in every cycle.
Can Someone Hack The Account With Just Account and Routing Number?
A hacker getting access to your bank account and savings is nothing short of a nightmare. Therefore, customers constantly hesitate to provide banking details to others worrying that it might results in leakage of sensitive data and hacking issues.
It is true that your account will be hacked if log in details of the online banking app are compromised. However, it is not possible to do so with just the account and routing number. The online accounts are typically safeguarded with password or PIN without which scammers can not perform the hack.
Can Personal Information Be Used To Hack Your Bank Account?
Personal information may include your full name, username, password, contact address, contact number, etc. Now if the information is enough to hack your account depends on what type of data it is.
- Login information would definitely give access to others and allow them to hack your account easily.
Account hackers can also use spyware or malware to make you download files that would let them access your online banking apps. However, most of the banks have now launched multi-factor authentication to safeguard your account.
You should also opt in for security questions, sensitive code, and email alerts so that even if you have shared your personal information, no one would be able to access the account without your authorization.
When Is It Okay To Provide Bank Account Number and Routing Number to Others?
There are many instances where you would be required to provide account number to others. Typically, account number and routing number are needed to make transactions. Here are a few other examples where you may have to provide bank account numbers.
- Receiving Money on Your Bank Account
When someone is sending you money to the bank, they would need your account number for the transaction along with the routing number. The same is the case with setting up a direct deposit from the employer. Once you have provided this information to the sending, the transfer will be done within minutes.
- Purchasing Things Online
By now you would already know that it is possible to pay for online purchases via checking account or by simply providing your account number and routing number. ACH transfers are pretty common and should not incur any issues. However, make sure you are using safe websites for online shopping.
- Connecting Online Bank Account to a Mobile App
Most mobile banking apps and mobile wallets let you link bank and manage finances conveniently. They also permit quick money transfers and deposits. However, to make this work, users are often asked to share bank account and routing number. This should be safe to do as long as you have opened your account with a reliable bank.
- Issuing a Paper Check To Someone
Paper checks sound like a thing from the past but many Americans still rely on these. Their use, however, has been discouraged. This is because they leave a paper trail of payments and sensitive information that can be misused.
Typically, paper checks have account and routing number printed on them. They also give personal information like phone number, or your full name which you might not be comfortable sharing with strangers.
The Bottom Line
As it turns out to be, if you were wondering what can a scammer do with bank account number, there are several scams that online hackers and fraudulent parties can perform using just your bank account number. Therefore, the only reliable way to steer of such issues is to never share your bank account or other personal information with someone you don’t know.
- You also need to proactively manage who has access to sensitive data and change passwords if need be.
Bank account scams are pretty common in all parts of the world. Although financial institutes themselves do take the responsibility to protect your account, it is also up to you to safeguard against the vulnerabilities of online banking.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is it safe If I give out my bank account details?
Bank account details like the account number and routing number are normally safe to share. However, you should not share information like username or password. This is because it can easily give access to your online banking app.
What can a scammer do with my bank account number?
Bank account number is normally enough to set up up ACH transfers or cash a check. Therefore, you should be careful about who you share such details with.
Cassidy Horton is freelance finance base research writer and published hundred of articles on money, banking, loan and more. Her work is published authority finance site on Forbes, Money Under30, NerdWallet and many other finance brands. Further she is considered financial expert by MSN, LegalZoom & Consolidated Credit.