Card cracking – Not all it’s cracked up to be, and your members are the target

“Hey, want to make some quick cash? Hit me up @CardCrackingFraudster121! Must have a bank account.”  While it may seem an obvious scam to some, millions of people are falling victim to this method of social media fraud, and when one of the victims is your member, your credit union could be on the hook for the loss.

Card cracking, or card popping as it’s sometimes called, is a scheme that fraudsters use to make quick cash outs using your members’ banking information. In the typical card cracking scheme, the fraudsters attempt to convince your member to act as an unknowing accomplice in stealing money from their credit union. Unlike other fraud schemes, where the fraudsters acquire account details from the dark web or another illicit source to commit fraud, the card cracking fraudster uses social media to get your members’ attention and account details. Often justified as a victimless crime, the enticement of fast money can be difficult for your members to refuse, and in some cases your members may even be complicit in the fraud.

Card Cracking 101

The characteristic card cracking scheme begins with a post on social media. The post will often show stacks of cash in a fancy car or depict a fraudster living the good life with an abundant amount of cash in their hands. The post is accompanied with a comment advertising quick money if you have a particular account with a financial institution. Once the fraudster contacts an interested party on social media, they will often provide a small upfront payment of a few hundred dollars in exchange for the member’s debit card number, PIN and online banking details. Their hope is that the member will not ask too many questions, but it’s at this point that your member may become complicit in the fraud. Typically, the fraudster will ask the member to report the transactions as fraudulent once the fraudster has finished. However, this scheme can play out in many different ways, and sometimes the fraudster will frame the situation in such a way that the member doesn’t fully understand the consequences.


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