When You Give All Your Money to Thieves and Still End Up in Jail

May 16, 2019


What if it was possible to go to prison for up to 30 years for being the victim of bank fraud? Unfortunately, it is with a fraud scheme known as card cracking. The crime not only victimizes people; it turns them into unwitting accomplices.

What is card cracking?

Often perpetrated through social media, card cracking occurs when a fraudster convinces a consumer to divulge his or her bank information. The fraudster may promise a lucrative return on the victim’s investment, a prize of some sort or just plain big, easy money. The victim is told there is just one stipulation: They must hand over their debit card information, including a PIN. Aside from being a terrible idea, it’s often against the debit card’s terms of service.  

How does it work?

After debit card information is shared, the fraudster writes bad checks and deposits them through an ATM into the victim’s checking account. Almost immediately, the fraudster withdraws the value of the bad checks – or sometimes even the full account balance – from another ATM.

What are the consequences?

When a victim notices the money is gone, he or she will most likely report fraud on the account. The minute the financial institution replaces the money, the “victim” becomes an accomplice.  Typically, a financial institution will not consider withdraws fraud if they are made by an individual who was given account information willingly by the account owner. In their eyes, and according to their terms of service, the money was not actually stolen.

The victim, therefore, becomes responsible for the funds that have been withdrawn – possibly in addition to bounced check fees.  

How do you protect yourself against card cracking?

  1. Keep it personal: Never-ever share account information with anyone. Remember, a Bank Iowa representative will never ask for your PIN.
  2. Use common sense: The age-old adage bears repeating: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Do not respond to calls or Internet ads that promise quick, easy money.
  3. Stay in good conscience: Understand that making false claims with a bank is illegal activity and can result in penalties.
  4. Communicate to others: Students, seniors, newly enlisted military and young adults are some of the most susceptible to card cracking. If you are sending a child off to college, the military or a first job, explain why they should never share card numbers and PINs.