Wouldn’t it be great to get rich quick? Most everyone thinks so—but most of us aren’t ready to become criminals to do so. Unfortunately, that’s not true for everyone. There are always lowlifes trying to scam people out of their money or their personal information. In this article, we’ll discuss card cracking scams. Incidents of debit card cracking and credit card cracking scams have been reported in many states, making this a national problem.
What’s a Card Cracking Scam?
In card cracking scams, individuals are recruited to facilitate fraud against the bank. The scammers typically target consumers on social media. They ask you to share checking account information in exchange for some type of payoff. This is frequently accomplished by a counterfeit check remotely deposited into their account and you are allowed to retain a set percentage of the funds.
The victim responds to a text, email, or social media post promising quick cash—disguised as a pyramid scheme or work-from-home opportunity. The scammer convinces the victim to share debit card information, online banking credentials, PIN numbers, and/or credit card numbers. Once the scammer has this information, they deposit fraudulent checks into your account and will conduct ATM withdrawals (they may even ask you to mail them your debit card!) or online transactions in rapid succession to drain the account before the checks bounce.
The scammers will remove all the funds—usually before the bank can determine the check is fraudulent. Scammers may also persuade their victim to give their debit card number and PIN, then instruct you to report the card as lost or stolen, guaranteeing you will be protected (this is rarely the case!) while the scammer withdraws the deposited funds.
How Do They Do It?
Social media, text message, email, or any form of digital communication are the common routes scammers use for this particular scam. Many scammers will lure victims by offering higher education financial aid such as scholarships or loan forgiveness programs advertised as legitimate.
Commonly, though, these scams involve willing victims who have been led to believe they were offered and online job or other way to earn quick, easy money. Scammers advertise their lavish lifestyles on social media alongside the financial help they state they can provide you to help you achieve their perceived success. In exchange for sharing banking information, you’re promised a portion of the funds, but once the scammer has your account information, they will deposit counterfeit checks and withdraw funds immediately.
Sometimes they even do a face-to-face scam! This usually involves the scammer posing as a student, claiming their personal accounts are frozen and they have no access to money, so they need you to cash a check for them.
How to Protect Yourself from Card Cracking
Never give any of your financial information to strangers—under any circumstance. Scammers are experts at using context to make unreasonable demands appear legitimate. This can be especially true for those with limited financial experience like high school or young college students who are led to believe a scholarship or job opportunity requires sharing bank account information as part of the procedure. It’s crucial to not only be aware of these scams and the full extent of their consequences, but to teach your teenagers to beware, as well.
If you receive an email or Facebook message from a stranger guaranteeing you’ll make money if you just hand over your banking information, you’re being scammed. If anyone asks you to deposit or cash a check because they’re unable to it’s in your best interest to decline. Always remember: if it sounds too good to be true, it likely is. The concept of free or easy money is alluring, but remember that these offers are almost always a scam.
Report any unusual activity in your bank and other financial accounts the moment you notice. Regularly checking your bank statement can assist you in recognizing suspicious and fraudulent activity, including credit card scamming. While an unexpected deposit may be enticing, not reporting the transaction may leave you on the wrong side of the law if it’s a card cracking scam.
When money is tight, it’s understandable that people look for ways to earn cash fast, but your bank account information is the key to your money. Just like your key to your home, protecting the key to your money keeps it safe. Contests and scholarships don’t need your banking information, and neither do complete strangers. The best approach is be skeptical of quick-cash “opportunities.”