If a stranger offered you a boatload of money tomorrow in return for handing over your wallet today, would you say yes?
Seems like “no” is a no-brainer, but many people are agreeing to a digital form of this kind of scam. It’s called card cracking, a deceptive practice to “crack” into a person’s bank account, and it contributed to $32 billion in overall card fraud in 2019.1
Frequently, card-cracking scams reach would-be victims via social media, with an opportunity for fast cash in return for allowing the scammer access to the person’s bank account. Sometimes it seeks participation, but some card-cracking attempts disguise as legitimate offers, such as sweepstakes or online jobs.
Although anyone can be vulnerable, card-cracking schemers often prey on new bank account holders, such as college students or just-enlisted military members. The scam may come in the form of a disguised scholarship opportunity or financial aid.
Here’s what often happens: The scammer asks for a bank account number, PIN, and credentials to deposit money into the account, promising the victim a kickback. The defrauder deposits fake checks, usually via a mobile app, and then immediately withdraws the funds through an ATM.
The target is advised to report a lost or stolen card to their bank in order to be reimbursed. But the bank will likely discover the counterfeit checks and remove their “value.”
Just like we wouldn’t hand our wallets over to a stranger, no one should cooperate with an unknown entity offering easy money. If you think a scammer is targeting you, follow these guidelines.
Think to yourself, how? Trust your gut. If a direct message or online ad promotes a quick and safe way to make money, think through how it could be legal. No need to respond to these solicitations – these are not your friends.
Keep strangers out of your stuff. It’s not likely you’d give your PIN number to anyone who asked for it, so why provide it to an online stranger? Sharing may be caring when it comes to cookies, but with bank accounts, sharing can be scary.
Don’t let them get away. If you see or receive a suspicious offer via social media, report it to the site and your bank. Most have drop-down menus to make this easy.
Your relationship with First Financial is built on trust, and we go great lengths to protect you and your money. We want to help you do the same. If you suspect someone is trying to scam you or access your account, contact us or you can report it to the Federal Trade Commission.
1 “The Top Fraud Losses and Trends for 2019,” FrankonFraud, Oct. 24, 2019; https://frankonfraud.com/fraud-trends/the-top-fraud-losses-for-2019-by-fraud-type/
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