Scams like Card Cracking can leave you broke, demolish your credit score, AND send you to jail with a criminal record.  It may seem like quick money with no victims but that’s not really the case. Once you’re targeted and you play a part in this new and emerging crime ring, you’re the one left to clean up all the damage.

So what is it, and what do you need to know to protect yourself, your friends and loved ones?

What’s Card Cracking?

Card cracking is a form of fraud on your own account where you knowingly participate with a fraudster by giving them your banking information – such as your checking account number and name, or debit card number and PIN. Once the fraudster has this information, they simply deposit fake checks or even counterfeit cash into your account, and withdraw funds immediately (before the bad check clears) with the promise to give you part of the withdrawal. The fraudster may even ask you to report your card lost or stolen so you’ll be protected when the funds are fraudulently withdrawn.

Who’s a Likely Target?

Scammers often target people who are short on cash such as college students, recent military enrollees, the elderly, and others. When the check bounces, it can result in the checking account balance dropping below $0. Ultimately, if your account goes negative because of a bad check, or because you give your debit card and PIN to someone, you are the one who’s responsible for paying that money back.

What Can Happen to You?

If you knowingly provide someone your account information, PIN or Online Banking Login information, you’re authorizing them to access your account. Then, if you falsely report it as a crime or report your card lost or stolen, you become part of the crime and will be treated as an accomplice. Not only are you responsible to pay back what’s owed,  you will most likely have a hard time securing a loan in the future and you could even go to jail!

Protect Yourself from Card Cracking

Most often, card cracking scammers reach out to people on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even Craigslist. They may ask if you have an account with Advia or some other financial institution.  They may tell you that you’ve won a contest or scholarship or offer you a “too good to be true” opportunity. Or, they may seem like they’re looking for a referral for a place to bank – all techniques to get you to open up about your financial relationships.

The most important thing to remember is simple – NEVER give your banking information to anyone. No legitimate scholarship provider or contest should ever require your financial information. And if anyone talks about wanting to deposit money into your account or use your debit card for any reason, don’t do it.

Would you like to learn more?

We want to help. Talk to us to learn more – you can call us anytime at 844.238.4228. Also, stay informed and keep current on these and other types of scams published by The Federal Trade Commission. The best first step to protecting yourself and others you care about is knowing what to look for!