Today’s scam comes to me from a reader of Scamicide who sent me the story about how her bank account had a couple of thirty-two cent deposits into her account followed by withdrawals of $500. The reader was vigilant and reported the fraudulent withdrawals immediately and the bank, as it is required to do reimbursed the stolen money out of the bank’s funds. Although many people are not familiar with this particular scam, it has been around for at least 7 years. It is called the ACH deposit scam. ACH is an acronym for Automated Clearing House, which is used to make electronic deposits and withdrawals from bank accounts, such as when some people receive their paycheck through a direct deposit into their account or an automated payment from the account for a regular bill that you have authorized. In this instance a scammer uses software to generate entirely random bank account numbers and then make deposits of as small as a penny into these accounts. When a deposit goes through, the scammer knows that the program has identified a valid account number and he then sends out an ACH withdrawal to the account. The ACH withdrawal from the scammer looks legitimate and may even have the name of a legitimate company, but the unauthorized ACH withdrawal is a scam. In an effort to prevent this scam from occurring, some banks will not permit ACH withdrawals that have not been initiated internally from the bank, but many banks do not take this precaution.
It is easy to overlook or ignore deposits of just a few cents into your bank accounts, but you do so at your own peril. Make sure that your regularly review all of your bank account transactions at least once a month and report any irregularities to avoid becoming a victim of the ACH deposit scam. It is preferable to view your account records online more often than once a month.