Card Cracking: Why "Fast Cash Online" Can Land You in Hot Water
What is card cracking? Maybe you've heard of it, maybe you haven't. But if you've been on social media for all of five minutes, you've probably received an unsolicited message, comment, or photo tag by someone offering something that’s too good to be true: a few thousand dollars in your bank account this time tomorrow. And how do you earn this lump of cash? Even more unbelievably, by doing nothing! (Well, other than by providing your password or debit card PIN, that is.)
If this sounds familiar, you've been solicited by a Card Cracking fraudster. And folks opening their first bank accounts (usually between the ages of 18 and 21) are the most common targets.
Card Cracking involves using someone else's bank account to quickly deposit phony (or stolen!) checks, then withdraw the amount just as fast. (You know, before the bank realizes the checks are illegitimate.)
Why would anyone let someone do this in their account? Because the fraudster likely offered a percentage of the money being made. If the Card Cracking scammer is trying to get $5,000, maybe they'll offer you $500 for doing your part.
But even if you are paid out (which is extremely unlikely), your bank will hold you responsible for all the missing money once the checks bounce. And just like that, you have to come up with that $5,000.
"Thankfully," the scammer already thought of that. To put you at ease, they'll tell you to plead ignorance to the bank and authorities, to say that you lost your debit card and had the code written on the back of it.
But here's the thing: you could very easily be investigated, especially since they've been stepping up enforcement on Card Cracking. And when it comes out you were a willing participant in the scheme, you're suddenly guilty of fraud, conspiracy, larceny, and beyond, which can result in extremely high fines and prison time.
And this is assuming the scam is actually Card Cracking. There's a good chance the fraudster will just withdraw money already in your account and count that as a win. Best case scenario, you file an account breach, you're not investigated, and after a hassle, your money is reinstituted by the bank.
Worst case, that money is gone forever. You did provide them access to your account, after all.
Remember: You NEVER need to provide access to your bank account or debit card for any online offer. From contests and sweepstakes to grants and job offers, your passwords and PINs should always be private. If they ask for either, it's a scam. Without exception.
If you're being pursued by someone attempting a Card Cracking scheme and want to get out ahead of it—or help prevent others from falling victim—report it to the social media or email platform.
At the very least, block or ignore the person.
A Card Cracking scheme never works out. The check will bounce and you will be responsible for that money in one way or another.
MyPoint Credit Union places your financial security a priority. If you suspect suspicious activity on your account, contact us right away at 1-888-495-3400.
Check out The Federal Trade Commission for great info and different types of scams including card cracking.