You’ve heard it said before, if it seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t true. Remember this adage when you’re pitched on social media about an easy money scheme using your checking account and debit card.
The scam is called “ cardcracking.” Since the scam starts on social media, it’s been especially effective targeting millennials in need of money. Here’s what happens.
Step 1. “Hey friend! Let’s make some money together.”
You see a Facebook post inviting you to make thousands just for having a checking account. The post promises easy cash with very little work or money needed from you.
What you should do at this point: Ask yourself, “Does this seem too good to be true?” It does. It is.
Step 2. “Tell me a little more about yourself like, say, your checking account number.”
The prospect of easy money, especially when you really need some money, intrigues you. So you respond. The scammer then says all you have to do is hand over a little information - like your checking account number, debit card number, or even your PIN or password. That’s not asking much, is it? Yes! It is!
What you should do at this point: Run away. Never give your account information to someone online. If you’re called, emailed, or contacted in any way from someone you did not contact who requests this information, it’s likely a fraud attempt at your expense.
Step 3. “It’s your lucky day, I’m going to make a large deposit to your account.”
If you’ve gone along with this plan to this point, the scammer will then deposit a large check to your account. They promise you a cut of the funds from the check for using your account to process the check.
What you should think at this point: If the check and your new partner are legitimate, why do they need your account to negotiate the check? Is something’s fishy? Yes!
Step 4. “Now let’s make a withdrawal and split the cash.”
The scammer then makes a withdrawal from the account and gives you a portion for your “work.” They may use a check, a fraudulent card, or even ask you to go to drive with them to an ATM so you can make the withdrawal yourself.
What you should think at this point: First, don’t get in the car with this person. Second, don’t give this person your debit or ATM card. Third, don’t give this person a check.
Now things accelerate quickly.
Step 5. The check is found to be fraudulent.
Step 6. The check is charged back against your account.
Step 7. You have a huge overdraft that you are responsible to payback.
Step 8. You learn you’ve been involved in a crime.
Steps 9 and beyond. Well, let’s just say it can get really ugly for you.
And what do you hear from your new friend? “Crickets.”
There are other nuances to this scam but regardless of the approach, you can spot and stop them at steps 1 or 2.
If you are approached with get rich quick schemes, it’s best to just ignore them. If you find yourself tempted, talk to your financial professional at Genisys. We can help you determine if your opportunity is real or fraudulent.