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This question already has an answer here:

My new workplace with a modeling agency had me sign up for a new bank/ credit union and want my account number and account pin to verify that a payment goes through once they send it, so they can monitor that it goes successfully. Then they said after that I can change it. It seems legitimate but I’m not sure what to do. Thoughts please

marked as duplicate by gnat, Kate Gregory, David K, Player One, Nimesh Neema Aug 7 at 4:29

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  • 12
    Modeling agency = scam in most cases – Dave Gremlin Aug 6 at 19:36
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    It seems legitimate No, it absolutely does not. – mcalex Aug 7 at 2:52
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    They need the PIN to do money laundering - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Money_laundering , or to steal from you later. – Kingsley Aug 7 at 3:10
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    Or steal from you now. With the PIN they can get access to the account, overdraw the account, and transfer the money offshore. When you realise, your account is in the negative, and because you gave the PIN away, you are liable to pay the bank to make the account not negative. – Gregory Currie Aug 7 at 3:30
  • Here's an example of how this scam might work: money.stackexchange.com/a/112242 – Caroline Aug 7 at 11:56
52

This is a scam.

I'd do a little research on that bank/credit union, too. Directing you to a specific bank seems fishy.

To do ACH payments, your employer needs the bank's ROUTING number, and your account number. No one EVER needs your PIN. PIN sands for PERSONAL identification number. Keep it personal.

  • Yes this is a common scam method. Set up a fake account that needs to transfer to an account in your name to get money. I've seen fake jobs set up and sometimes it involves being an accountant or something for a seemingly legit job. I heard of this scam involving signing fake checks and depositing it into your account and having you give the company your account # and pin. Sometimes when you deposit money, they don't make the whole amount available but you can withdraw say $200 bucks for a paycheck until it clears. The check will eventually bounce and you'll have to repay the amount withdrawn. – Dan Aug 6 at 18:01
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    They direct you to a specific bank because they know that bank's policies well enough to exploit them. For instance, some banks will allow a "courtesy pay" overdraft up to $200. Some banks will make $100 of newly deposited check available immediately (before the check actually clears). And so on. You should absolutely alert the bank to the scam. The bank's fraud team will be interested in investigating and potentially considering additional countermeasures or policy changes. – dwizum Aug 6 at 18:18
  • If it's not a scam, should they give out their PIN? – Gregory Currie Aug 7 at 1:22
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    @GregoryCurrie no, it's a scam because they want the PIN. Any legit employer would need account number and routing number, but not the PIN. – Stephen S Aug 7 at 1:44
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Personally, I would not agree to do so. I do not work in the modeling industry, but this request is definitely not normal in any industry I'm familiar with. I would propose that I verify the payment for them instead of giving them access to a bank account in my name.

Edit: To be completely clear, I would have no problems with giving them the account number.

  • 7
    Agreed. Your account number is normal, so they can deposit the money. Your pin is absolutely not. – David K Aug 6 at 16:08
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    Not only is this not normal IT"S A HUGE SCAM RED FLAG. Nobody needs your PIN to verify a transaction, and giving it to them violates the terms of your bank account. – DJClayworth Aug 6 at 16:25
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Never give your pin to anyone.

Ring the bank and check, they will tell you the same, in fact you can lose any protection the bank offers if they discover you gave the pin out.

For some who don't seem to get it:

Ring any bank you like and ask them if you should, or should not, divulge your PIN... Any bank will tell you no, try Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Barclays, Lloyds or UBS - any of the well-known banks.

Get the agency to make a payment and you confirm it works later that day or the next.

As others have said, it is a scam.

I was meeting the bank yesterday - advisor had full access to my accounts as they should, but did not ask for my pin...

Also, you can give them the IBAN number which most banks use now and that works for them sending you money. At least the banks in the UK and Switzerland use the IBAN...

  • 1
    Losing your bank's protection if you give out the PIN is bad enough. What's even worse is that you may also have to prove to bank investigators and/or law enforcement that you weren't the one that committed the fraud, even though it was done using a secret PIN that supposedly only you know... – bta Aug 7 at 0:44
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    -1 The first sentence is OK, the rest is very bad advice. After it's obvious that it's a scam, the OP should break off all contact with them. Don't give them the benefit of doubt, don't try to reason with them or test them or to propose alternate paying methods. They are scammers, end of story. And about "ringing the bank", make sure you search yourself for the actual phone number of the bank, and don't use any information those "employers" gave, because they almost surely control that number and will pretend to be the bank and will state that it's perfectly legit. – Val Aug 7 at 4:17
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    @SolarMike : The questions stated to sign up for a new bank, maybe you missed it. And even if you meant your old bank, it's a bad advice to continue testing the scammers ("Get them to make a payment and you confirm it works") because that leaves some trust in the OP that there is still money to be won from them, and that they can be reasoned with and that a payment method can be negotiated which is secure and guarantees money for the victim. Which is exactly the mentality the scammers want the victim to have. – Val Aug 7 at 5:04
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    @Val So with such good advice and points, why have you not posted an answer?... Are you connected with the industry? – Solar Mike Aug 7 at 5:07
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    @SolarMike : Duh, because there are other, perfectly good answers already? – Val Aug 7 at 5:13
9

As everyone else is already saying, this is almost guaranteed to be a scam, but I wanted to highlight that modelling agency scams can go way beyond stealing your money. Fake modelling agencies can be fronts for human trafficking, and you should be very careful.

While suspicious on its own, they are in general correct that you can simply change the PIN afterwards (though if they asked you to use a specific bank/credit union, they may know a "security question back door" to recover the account with an old PIN).

The more dangerous side of this comes in when you consider that scammers want to be blatantly obvious that they are scamming you, because they want only the most gullible people to self-select by following through. This suspicious bank activity could be the net they use to filter out easy marks, and then follow up with "this great modelling contract in [another country], you just need to give me your passport so I can buy your plane tickets and [perform dubious action] to get you set up!".

  • 8
    And in case this isn't obvious either: Do not give them your passport. – jwodder Aug 7 at 2:37
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I can sit here and try to think about if it's a scam or not. A lot of other answers have suggested it's a scam. But they miss the mark, because at the end of the day, it doesn't actually matter if it's a scam or not.

There are certain things you should never do, regardless of the situation. Giving someone your PIN is one of them. It doesn't matter if it's "legitimate or" not.

They may be able to convince you 100% that it's not a scam. Well done to them. You must NOT give them your PIN.

Let's say you trust everything they are saying, and it all checks out, you get verification from the queen, and everyone in the world says it's not a scam. You must NOT give them your PIN.

Let's say you know, somehow, it isn't a scam. You know absolutely and without a shadow of a doubt. You must NOT give them your PIN.

Don't get tripped up on a game where they have to prove their good intentions. You have to form the mindset that there is no scenario where they are getting your PIN. It's that simple.

5

It seems legitimate but I’m not sure what to do.

It probably isn't. They don't need your PIN number. If they want to make a small deposit they only need your bank account and routing numbers.

I would NOT give them my PIN number.

4

100% agreed that if they transfer money to your account, they'd know that they did through their bank. It's sort of like if you write a check for a bill, you'd know they cashed it because you'll see it on your account. You wouldn't need their account or pin number to do so.

This sounds 100% like a scam. Models are particular targets because they're looking for odd jobs to break into the industry and build a portfolio. So my advice is to simply forget about this job and walk away. If you already shot photographs, keep in mind it's very easy to set up a fake studio at some abandoned building. Verify the agency is real and the person actually works there. Ask for cash but if they insist on you giving them your account number and pin, do not do it.

Edit: Not even the bank would even know your pin number. They'd have no way to get your pin number. That's how secured it is. Your pin number is encrypted and salted at your bank and on your card if you have the little chip in it. So it's very secure, very personal. You should never give it out.

Edit: This is 100% a scam. The scam involves seemingly valid work and they give you a paycheck. You deposit this paycheck that appears to be from a legit company. They ask you provide them an account # and pin to track and you deposit. Most banks make paychecks have some amount available right away until it clears for good standing accounts. Typically $200 or so for a US bank. What these scams do is they withdraw that $200 area (or more if you have money in your account for withdraw) and eventually your check will bounce and you owe the bank that $200 for having withdrawn (since you can't prove you didn't until you make a police report). You'll also be out of whatever over that $200 dollars, possibly never recovering it.

-3

There's absolutely no reason to give anyone your PIN. However, even with your PIN, they'd still need your debit card number, expiration date, and CVC. Then they'd need to encode that onto a card to withdraw money from an ATM. (Your bank account # isn't the same as your debit card #)

Are you sure they're not asking you for your routing number and account number? They can't do DD w/o knowing the routing number

It's possible this is a scam, but even w/ their bank account # and PIN they wouldn't be able to do anything w/o swiping your debit card as well.

edit: it's also possible they're referring to the telephone customer service PIN (which some banks have as an extra security measure to verify your identity. these are (to my knowledge/in my experience) totally separate from your ATM / debit PIN).

  • 2
    You are saying not to give out the PIN, which is good, but you shouldn't qualify that by saying the risk is mitigated factors, because you don't actually know how strong those factors are. Debit card number, and expiration date are not security features and can be considered public knowledge. CVC is not part of ATM authentication at all. So what you're left with is relying on the fact that it's hard to manufacture a card which, depending on the security features, may not be hard at all. – Gregory Currie Aug 7 at 2:11
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    Also, the OP says account number and account PIN, which suggests to me it's online login credentials. – Gregory Currie Aug 7 at 2:17
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    "even w/ their bank account # and PIN they wouldn't be able to do anything w/o swiping your debit card as well" - with those, they can set up online banking. Then it's "Goodnight, Vienna". – Mawg Aug 7 at 7:09

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