Card Cracking Scams



This scam is also being used in Bitcoin scams with scammers who set up their own "exchanges" selling Bitcoins and requesting banking information. NEVER use a Debit or Credit card to purchase crypto currencies. Use a prepaid card specifically for that purpose.

Reviewing the ‘Card Cracking’ Scam


By Roxane Schneider

“Card Cracking” is a growing social media scam that is becoming a massive problem for millions unsuspecting users on Twitter, Instagram and other social media tools, as well as financial institutions.

The scheme snares social media users by offering a tempting offer in exchange for the user’s debit card credentials, PINs and access to their online bank account profiles. In some scenarios, customers have lost as much as $20,000 to fraudsters.

Common trap examples include a tweet from a scammer’s Twitter account or Facebook post offering a large cash prize, or a contest posted by a fake celebrity Instagram account, offering a gift card to the first fans who sign up. Individuals are being solicited through social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and even University bulletin boards and Craigslist.

Here’s a visual representation of how the scam works:

Once a fraudster is able to access the checking or savings account linked to the customer’s credentials, money is withdrawn from the customer’s account, often through the ATM, money orders or check cashing facilities. Just last year, authorities found one fraudster was able to steal more than $184,000 over a two year period from Chicago college students, leaving cardholders with little recourse and a large mess for financial institutions to clean up.

Financial institutions continue to work to remove postings from social media sites, but it has been impossible for fraud experts to locate every scam.

BITS, the cybersecurity and technology division of FSR, released a members-only advisory in October 2014 highlighting the emerging fraudulent scenario, identifying how consumers were found responding to online solicitations for “easy money” and providing their debit card credentials that fraudsters then use for withdrawal of worthless check deposits.

BITS member USAA warns that college students and the military are common targets of this scam, indicating that individuals may be considered an accomplice to bank fraud if there is evidence that an account holder participated in the scheme. The New York State Department’s Division of Consumer Protection, the Federal Trade Commission and BITS all provide useful awareness and education practices to help prevent and detect the activity, but financial institutions continue to struggle with the tedious removal of scam posts from social media sites.

FSR and BITS members urge consumers to be vigilant and do their part to protect their sensitive information. Financial institutions will never ask for any personal or account information, including debit card numbers or PINs, over any social media platform.

BITS financial institution members are working to determine proactive ways to engage social media companies in the take-down of fraudulent, deceptive social media posts. To learn more about BITS and the Financial Services Roundtable, visit:


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