"Card Cracking" Scams on Social Media
Imagine scrolling through your social media accounts and receiving a message that immediately captures your attention, such as: “Want to make easy, legit money fast?” If it sounds too good to be true, you’re right. But, unfortunately, it’s the opening line to a growing scam called card cracking. If you participate, there’s a chance you could unknowingly become an accomplice in this illegal scheme.
What is card cracking and how does it work?
According to American Bankers Association, criminals use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram to solicit consumers, often targeting people between the ages of 19 and 25, who are most likely to be college students, newly enlisted military, or single parents. Customers who respond to these solicitations, now accomplices, provide a debit card, PIN, and online credentials to give the criminal direct access to their account. The fraudster deposits worthless checks using a mobile deposit and immediately withdraws the funds at an ATM. The customer then calls to report a stolen card or compromised credentials. The bank reimburses the customer for funds lost, and the criminal provides the customer with a cut of the money withdrawn using worthless checks.
What happens if you participate?
Card cracking is a crime; therefore, the repercussions of participating in the scam can result in criminal prosecution but varies on a case-by-case basis. Customers are responsible for maintaining their accounts in accordance with the Bank’s Deposit Account Agreement.
How to protect yourself and your finances from card cracking and other types of fraud?
- Do not respond to online solicitations for “easy money.” Card-cracking advertisements suggest this is a quick, safe way to earn extra cash. Keep in mind that easy money is rarely legal money.
- Never share your account and/or PIN. Always keep this information private. By sharing it with others, you expose yourself to potential fraud.
- Do not file false fraud claims with your bank. By filing a false claim, you are a co-conspirator in fraud. In addition, banks’ detection techniques for card cracking are constantly improving, and suspicious claims will be investigated.
- Report suspicious posts linked with scams. If you notice postings that appear connected with possible fraud, report them to the social media site. A drop-down menu is usually near the post to allow for easy reporting.
If someone you don't know asks for your information, don't give it out! Anyone asking for your banking credentials or encouraging you to exchange money via a peer-to-peer payment app is a red flag. Instead, always ask yourself, "Does this make sense?" If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
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