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My employer is changing my contract from a 1099 to a W-2 because my contract has lasted longer than the small project I was first hired for. Because of this, my employer wants me to send my bank account number over email because they lost my previous details (I was first hired ~1.5 years ago). I would be happy to send it over, but in the email he included my routing number so I would know what bank account number to send over. I'm pretty skeptical when it comes to security, and I don't want my bank account number and routing number to be in the same place, should mine or their email get hacked.

What are my options here?

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    Could well be a scam/ impersonated email, confirm by phone at a minimum. Seems very unlikely accounting would lose your direct deposit info (If I understand correctly, that is the only reason to ask for a routing number in this situation) – Pete W Mar 3 at 14:10
  • Are racing pigeons an option? Jokes aside - How about a registered mail with a confidential note once you verified it's a legit receipent? – iLuvLogix Mar 3 at 15:20
  • You are having income from a 1099 and w-2 job go into the same bank account? The former should be a business account, the later personal. – Pete B. Mar 3 at 16:04
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    Non US person here. Is this information (bank acce no and routing no) enough to take money from the account? This seems really weird. – stanri Mar 4 at 6:08
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Pick another way to send it.

You could put it into a file, encrypt/password protect the text file, email it; then give them the password to the document over the phone.

The idea is to use multiple communication systems to divide the information.

You also don't have to send you account number as a reply to the email, make a new email so that the chain doesn't include all the information.

Also make sure that you aren't being targeted. Call your boss to confirm that the email is real.

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    Good answer but that last paragraph should be at tge beginning. – Studoku Mar 3 at 14:34
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First off, if this is purely by email and you have not spoken to a person, I would call first to verify that this is what they want. Just don't send your bank account, even to someone who might seem legit. Call and ask. Say you got an email requesting to send a back account number over an email line and you want to verify that request. Don't call the number in the email.

If they get demanding or threatening, then it is likely a scam of some sort. Honestly, I never heard of sending bank information over an email. Usually what you do is void a check and send it to them and they use that to make the auto-deposit setup. At every job I ever held, they never ask for my bank information except a blank check that has void on it.

So I would be very suspicious of this email. It does not sound like the proper way to set up auto deposit. I would also request that I do not send it via email and ask if I could send it through a voided check like every other place in this world.

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    "Don't call the number in the email." -- good point – Pete W Mar 3 at 15:23
  • What do you mean by "send it through a voided check"? Do you mean a pic or scan of the voided check emailed to them, or a physical voided check mailed to them? – brhans Mar 3 at 21:44
  • @brhans Every place I've been to would ask me to physically give a voided check. Everyone of them on the first day of work and one time when I updated my account I had to walk to the accounting person and staple a voided check along with a change form. Never once did I do this across email or was asked to. – Dan Mar 4 at 14:34
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(Was going to be a comment, but I think it's better as an answer. It also assumes that the information that the OP has provided is complete)

This smells fishy to me because contracts don't get changed from 1099 to W-2. If you are paid by 1099 then you are a contractor. If you are being paid by W-2 then you are an employee.

So unless an offer has been made to you to become an employee (EG negotiated salary, offer to sign a contract etc) then IMHO this is a bogus email and should be treated as such, and you should take all the precautionary steps that have been mentioned in the other answers.

In addition, if the employer has "lost" your banking details, then how have they been paying your 1099 invoices?

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  • Yeah, it's obviously not legitimate unless they haven't been paying the OP for the last 18 months. – Kilisi Mar 3 at 21:37
  • Actually, Peter, what you're saying isn't quite correct. The US Internal Revenue Service has a list of "bright line rules" to determine whether a "contractor" is, in fact, "a statutory employee." Presumably this employer has now determined that a shift from 1099 to W-2 status is necessary. This determination is legitimate. – Mike Robinson Mar 4 at 2:12
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A shift from 1099 status to W-2 status is legitimate, if the employer has determined that in the eyes of the Internal Revenue Service you are a "statutory employee." If the HR department needs bank routing information in order to set you up for "direct deposit" ... since no one really wants to have to print physical checks anymore ... you should simply call them on the phone.

It's perfectly sensible that you should never(!) send such information "by e-mail." The HR Department will be responsible for entering this data so that you get paid.

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