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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 102584
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Can a person be liable if someones account info is stolen

Customer Question

Can a person be held liable if someone else's account info is stolen from them?

Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.

What can I answer for you?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I recently contacted a spiritual worker that I found online on Instagram She has a website and claims that she has two offices in another state. When I contacted her for services she stated that she will make a free consultation chart. She stated that if the chart determined she can help me she will. The next day she calls and says she could help me and the total will be $300 dollars. I told her I was low and asked if she accepted payments she said yes and that she will start the work anyway. I had some money and told her that I would pay that for now she was fine. What threw me off was that she texted me her husband’s personal account info. I told her I wasn't comfortable with that info and asked if she had PayPal she said she would call PayPal and when she got back to me she said payments to PayPal wouldn't be available until September 21st. so I deposited the money into the account. The second payment I gave her a call because I erased the account info. I wrote it down on a piece of paper name, account number, and possibly bank, I forgot. I'm not quite sure if I lost the paper or threw it away but I am terrified somebody has that information if it is lost. I know people need more than an account number to withdraw. If somebody found that paper, and tried to withdraw from my area will I be accused? I'm terrified I will get accused for something I didn't do it was an honest mistake? Is this likely? I also changed my number after I paid her off for her services I paid her a total of $520 because after the 300 she needed $218 more to buy more energy. Is this something I should lose sleep over? Should I report her for using her personal account for business purposes? what should I do it's been over 22 days since I lost that scratch paper and I think about it every single day. I'm afraid to go on and live life and be happy I can't stop thinking about that paper. I myself have gotten my identity stolen last year and reported it to the police so I know how it feels. I'm just afraid someone will tamper with her personal account. What should I do?

Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.

It is generally not possible to withdraw money from the account only with the account number. So this is unlikely. Even if they did, it is their action, not yours. Generally speaking, you would not be responsible for a thief's actions even if they found their way into the account via your thrown away/lost paper with the account number, provided it did not have other information such as her name, DOB, SSN, etc, enough to have the thief impersonate her only thanks to you.

I really do not think that this is a big deal. You may wish to let her know that this has happened, but I would be careful because she can try to scare you into paying more money, etc. She seems very manipulative.

I think you are catastrophizing see HERE. You've assumed the worst, and let your imagination take hold of you. We all do it. I am guessing in your mind you are being arrested for this for some reason, right absolutely malarkey.

I would not worry about it. If you must, you can send her a letter explaining what happened just so she cannot even try to blame this on you (by sending her a letter, someone in your situation can argue that they were reasonably diligent in letting her know so now the onus would be on her to act to protect her account). But honestly, even without it, I would not fret. Chances of anyone withdrawing money from the account just with the number is next to impossible. Plus, unless you actually WROTE DOWN WHAT BANK it is, and that this was an account number, most people will not even know what the string of digits on the paper is!

So as you can see, this is just you having a little anxiety. If you really need to speak with someone, speak with a professional counselor/therapist. Spiritual workers are generally well questionable.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I know I wrote down name and account number what scares me is the bank.

Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.

How so? How does it scare you? Please elaborate.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Well someone finding that paper and trying to attempt to withdraw. I'm scared she will accuse me of knowing that person who attempts to with draw of that happens. Her website states she has helped 100's of clients but I don't know if she gave that account info everybody.

Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.

I do not believe that is likely to happen. And the bank is not going to come after you. They would have no legal standing to do so in such a scenario (which is unlikely to occur anyhow).