Can you be scammed if the supposed perpetrator knows your bank details?

I was sitting and watching The Sheriffs Are Coming (series 5, episode 6).
So, one case came up…anyways…plaintiff won the case and defendant had to cough up some cash. Defendant requested the plaintiff to provide bank account details so that the money could be transferred. Plaintiff refused and instead requested a check as it was one of the payment methods recommended by the court.

So…my question is - can you be scammed if the supposed perpetrator knows your bank account details? In the episode it was implied that the plaintiff was refusing to provide sort code and account number because they were afraid of some sort of vice from the defendant.

You might be able to tell that I am not a native english speaker so sorry about the weird wording and stuff, but yeah :smile:

If you have a bank account number and sort code, I believe you can set up a direct debit. I think that’s about it.

[…] [Jeremy] Clarkson published details of his Barclays account in the Sun newspaper, including his account number and sort code. He even told people how to find out his address.

“All you’ll be able to do with them is put money into my account. Not take it out. Honestly, I’ve never known such a palaver about nothing,” he told readers.

But he was proved wrong, as the 47-year-old wrote in his Sunday Times column.

“I opened my bank statement this morning to find out that someone has set up a direct debit which automatically takes £500 from my account,” he said. […]

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Oh, wow. That’s crazy… Don’t you need to approve those somehow? Last time I had a direct debit set up it was a year ago so I don’t really remember… :smile:
In my home-country we have IBAN’s and there is no way to do anything like that. Businesses publish their IBAN’s on their websites as part of the contact details :smiley:

Direct debits don’t need independent approval but you need to know a lot of details about the account owner like address and sometimes bank branch details.

To be fair, not many people can join a Direct Debit scheme without being a very legitimate business and customers are protected by the Direct Debit guarantee by banks if anything goes wrong.


You’re fully protected so there is little to no risk at losing money as a result of a fraudulent direct debit.


Also, I think there’s a minimum period between setting up a DD and the first payment being taken, so if you check your account regularly you should spot any dodgy ones that have been set up before money leaves your account.


Monzo works well here, by inserting a ‘D/D setup’ alert entry into the feed.

If you expected the D/D, all good.
If you weren’t expecting it - time to hit the ‘Cancel Direct Debit’ button in the Payments/SCHEDULED list.


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