‘Card-Cracking’ Scam Targets College Kids

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A new scam is popping up on college campuses. Called “cracking cards,” it entices gullible students by offering them a lump sum of cash in exchange for the use of their debit card to cash a check.

Scammers use social media outlets such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to find potential victims. Their proposition is simple: If you provide me with access to your account so I can deposit a check and withdraw the money, I will provide you with half of the proceeds.

After initial contact is made, the scammer arranges to meet up with the student to retrieve the debit card and corresponding PIN. The deposit is made, the money is withdrawn and then the check proves to be fake.

It’s a twist on a traditional scam with an even worse outcome. Says Cleveland.com:

So instead of just duping people into depositing the fake checks into their accounts and wiring or sending cash to the scammers, which is bad enough, victims are giving scammers direct access to their bank accounts.

That’s a huge risk – especially for students, who may have large amounts going through their accounts from loans, scholarships and tuition reimbursements.

“The origin of [cracking cards] was Chicago, but now there is activity in Seattle, New York and other cities,” a postal inspector told the Chicago Sun-Times.

Imagine having to explain to the bank, your parents and the police how you lost the money in your account. “Even though the students might be considered victims, authorities point out that providing their debit cards to someone else is a crime,” the Sun-Times says.

There’s an easy solution: Never share your account information, debit card or PIN.

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  • D Lowrey

    So someone contacts you…asks to meet you to give you half of a check they cash and you do it willingly? I know it sounds heartless…but these “victims” need to learn a lesson they will never forget.

    • Michael Smiley Gawthrop

      Agreed… some people really need to learn the truism “if it seems to good to be true, it probably is”
      No one is going to pay 50% to cash a check when most check cashing places charge closer to 10%… and if they are really willing to pay that much, they probably aren’t people that you want to be involved with.