Card cracking scam targeting young people

USAA warns members being contacted through social media

SAN ANTONIO – A growing number of people are being duped out of their debit cards and PINs in a scam called card cracking.  Now, USAA warns its members are being targeted.

"We have members who are approached via social media to make quick cash in exchange for their debit card, debit card PIN and login credentials," said Tom Shaw, USAA's vice president of financial crimes management.

The scam also called card popping is bank industry wide.

Scammers create social media profiles, primarily on Instagram and Facebook, and target college students and young active duty military personnel.

The come-ons vary  from offer quick cash deals, scholarships and business promotions.  USAA says  fraudsters are impersonating USAA officials.

But the gist is the same. In exchange for sending the  debit card, PIN and login information so they can deposit a check,  the target will get a cut.

"They'll actually make deposits through mobile deposits that most banks offer of fake checks," Shaw said.

But before the check can be flagged as bogus, the scammer has the debit card.  He then simply goes to an ATM and withdraws large sums of money.

When the check is discovered to be a fake,  the account has been drained and the target is left on the hook for that withdrawal.

"We have seen cases where an individual has been liable for up to $20,000," Shaw said.

To make matters worse, the individual may be considered  an accomplice to bank fraud.

Shaw says many of the social media profiles used in the scam are fabricated, often using pictures of attractive women or celebrities.  Some even show pictures of large sums of cash along with the solicitation.

Young people are typically the targets because they are not as savvy about the banking system or are hard-up for easy cash, according to Shaw.

If followed or friended on social media and offered such a quick cash deal, Shaw says to contact the site so the page or profile can be pulled.

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