street gangs, rap videos and guys who are skilled at
"making paper" are all on the front edge of a
scam that’s already cost banks millions of dollars.
called "cracking cards."
weird about this scam is that con artists don’t target
and trick the elderly. Instead, millennials naively hand
over PIN numbers for their ATM cards and make it easier
for con artists to cash fake checks. The young consumer
might get a small amount of the cut but eventually could
run into major trouble.
con artists are recruiting college students, single
parents and even in some cases, reportedly,
newly-enlisted military, too.
American Bankers Association warned this week that
criminals are using Instagram, Twitter and Facebook to
solicit young adults for a so-called fast cash scheme.
State University Federal Credit Union is planning to
launch a public service campaign this summer because the
fraud has become so serious and in some cases,
really heartbreaking is mostly they are preying on
people who truly need funds — which is why they fall
for it," said April Clobes, president and CEO of
the MSU credit union.
fall, she said, one student thought she was going to be
eligible for some sort of scholarship money. But as part
of that deal, the con artists convinced her to drive
with them to Chicago and give up her ATM card. She was
abandoned in Chicago and left without her debit card,
very serious," Clobes said.
surprise, in some cases, the fraudsters are draining
large amounts out of bank accounts once they have that
bankers group isn’t the first out of the gate to
discuss this scam. It’s all over some rap music.
Artist Chief Keef has lyrics in a "drill" rap
that glorifies the bank fraud.
be countin’ them stacks; crackin’ cards, get back; I
gets me a big check; And everything designer but it’s
not a typical ID theft. The young person isn’t getting
a call from a gang member’s girlfriend who pretends to
be someone from the bank and needs to verify some
the young consumer ends up willingly handing over bank
account information. Some could even think there’s no
harm in taking a big bank for $300 or more here and
there, bankers say.
a little bit of what I would call ‘willful blindness,’"
said Doug Johnson, senior vice president of payments and
cyber security for the American Bankers Association.
how it goes down: The college student or other consumer
hands over his or her debit card information and PIN
number. The idea is that they will get something, maybe
a cut of the money. Maybe 10 percent or so; or maybe up
to half of the money deposited.
legitimate bank account information is in hand, the
fraudster then deposits counterfeit checks that were
created by the con artist who "made the
paper." The deposits could be made via smartphones
or other mobile devices.
after that, a con artist, who remember has your PIN
number, then withdraws the money from an ATM or possibly
a point-of-sale terminal at a local retail store.
some cases, the alleged "victim" or consumer
later calls the bank to report a stolen debit card or
compromised credentials. The consumer might never
mention that he or she handed over the bank information
from the start.
some cases, it is possible, of course, that people can
be true victims.
MSU credit union, for example, said in the past some
young looking con artists might go to residence halls
and say they lost a debit card and need to cash a check.
They’d offer the other student $20 or so to help them
use their account.
MSU credit union CEO Clobes said the scheme has become
far more serious in the past two years or so where
social media is used to spread the word. Sometimes,
social media is used to promote fake scholarship
programs that involve handing over PIN numbers and ATM
average theft out of accounts has been about $2,500
lately, she said.
note that some legitimate victims could keep a PIN
number in the home in view or even in a wallet with an
ATM card. And then a friend or family member gets access
to the information, the ATM card and takes money from an
account without the bank customer’s knowledge.
also have warned college students to be careful about
providing any banking account information in relation to
a job prospect, maybe under the guise of running a
"cracking cards" scheme has reportedly cost
banks nationwide about $11.6 million in stolen money,
according to an American Bankers Association survey.
the fall of 2014, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the
Northern District of Illinois said 29 defendants from
Illinois and Indiana faced federal charges in a
"cracking cards" scheme that had its roots on
Chicago’s south side and was spreading to other cities
through rap music and social media.
schemes involved many participants, with some con
artists taking part in recruiting bank customers at
"parties, schools, or on the street,"
according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
cool from the start. Or maybe it sounds like a good way
to get more money for college. But bankers warn that
young consumers risk losing an account, loss of their
own money, damaged credit and possible jail time.
best rule, of course, is to be highly skeptical of
in life is free," Clobes said.