Don’t Give Out Your Bank Account Information

by andy h on July 19, 2006

Do not give out your bank account information to people you do not know. I think most people reading this blog already know this but apparently there are people out there who do not.

I was contacted on the phone last week by a company called Distinct Advantage. The person on the phone told me that I was being rewarded for being a good checking account holder. They just needed the information off the front of my check and I would receive my reward. I immediately knew this deal wasn’t right but I was bored so I decided to have some fun with the telemarketer.

I asked him how they knew I was a good checking account holder if they didn’t have my checking account information. His reply was “Give me your checking account info and then we will have it.” I thought that was a pretty amusing response so I decided to string this out a little more. I asked him if they could take money from my checking account with that information. His reply was no. He went on to say that if that were true you would have to worry about any retail clerk taking money from your account. I knew that wasn’t true. All a company needs to debit your checking account is the routing and account number off your check. This is basically how a check-by-phone or auto-debit works. I let him describe the offer for about ten more minutes. Then I told him it sounded like a scam to me and hung up.

Afterwards I did an internet search on this company and found several complaints against them. The complainants all had fallen for a similar pitch. They all gave their checking account information over the phone and then were surprised a few months later when money was taken out of their checking accounts. I guess there has to be some people gullible enough to fall for these scams or they wouldn’t keep doing them. Anyway, don’t give your account information out to companies you do know. And be very cautious about giving the information to companies you do know. I’ve been burned that way before but I’ll save that story for another post.

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