Bank Details Secrecy?

In order for someone to make a direct bank transfer into your account (an increasingly common way of moving money around, even between individuals), you need to give them your account number and sort code. This information is also printed at the bottom of cheques (I write less than 5 a year these days) and on debit cards.

Question: is there anything a person of evil intent can ‘usefully’ do with just your bank account number and sort code?

4 thoughts on “Bank Details Secrecy?

  1. How evil is evil? Taking money from your bank account and giving it to (for example) charity, leaving you to spot this and invoke the Direct Debit guarantee may or may not qualify as evil. If the aim is to cause you problems, rather than personal enrichment for the evildoer, it’s not that hard.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/7174760.stm

    • It might not have been for personal enrichment but it’s still blatantly theft. From the Theft Act: “Any assumption by a person of the rights of an owner amounts to an appropriation” – http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1968/60/section/3

      The bit about “The bank cannot find out who did this because of the Data Protection Act” sounds like so much claptrap. The DPA contains the necessary exemptions to allow use of data for law enforcement, and clearly the bank would have had to be involved in the investigation. Sounds far more like neither Clarkson nor the bank could be bothered to involve the police.

  2. The mountaineering club I’m in has had multiple incorrect monthly direct debits applied to its bank account recently, just because its bank details are published in some of the club’s information to members. We’ve been paying someone’s pet insurance and someone else’s Sky subscription. Banks are quick (ish…) to refund the money, but you absolutely have to check your bank statements for unknown direct debits, since it appears the banks are delegating all direct debit checks to customers…

  3. In the US at least, the information needed to directly deposit money into your account is exactly the same information needed to take money directly out of your account. It is, of course, illegal to do either without your permission.