You've probably heard the phrase, "If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is." There's a scam gaining popularity with young adults and college students that promises large sums of cash in exchange for personal account information. It's called card popping.
Unfortunately, we are seeing more instances of card popping and want to make you aware of the details. Participation in this scam will result in the closure of your account and may implicate you as an accomplice to the fraudster, so please take notice.
Essentially card popping is executed via social media sites or may be proposed in person at parties or a social gathering. You may see posts or messages from the new “friend” containing images of large amounts of cash with the claim you can turn hundreds into thousands overnight.
The scam begins with an exchange of your account information. The fraudster will often ask for account number, login ID/password, debit/credit card numbers with PIN, etc. They may ask you to contact your financial institution to request increased daily spending limits or to approve out-of-area card activity.
Card popping is normally directed at young adults/students who have newer accounts. In some cases the fraudster may instruct you to open a new account. Regardless of the variations in their story, the result will be the same:
- Fraudulent deposits of large amounts of money into your account via ATM or mobile check deposits followed by cash withdrawals and card spending to deplete the account before the check has a chance to be returned.
- The fraudulent checks will be returned for non-sufficient funds and your account will go negative, leaving you left repay the negative balance.
This type of fraud can only be accomplished with the account holder’s direct assistance. This scam is very avoidable. Never share your debit/credit card and PIN with anyone and never hand over your online/mobile banking credentials. Not only does giving this information out leave your account open to fraud, but it is also a direct violation of your account terms and agreement.
Getting a large sum of cash for sharing account information is a scam. You will leave yourself vulnerable to fraud and possibly incriminate yourself as an accomplice by willingly providing your personal account information. Steer clear of anyone inviting you to participate in card popping or similar scams and please report scam activity immediately to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov.
Be aware that you will not receive the promised cash and you will only be left with a negative account balance and likely closure of all your credit union or bank accounts.
This is one of the primary check scam types and many other check scams are simply a variation of this type of fraud. Overpayment occurs when someone is selling an item (normally online, think Craigslist or eBay) and a buyer gives them a check for more than the asking price – this is usually followed by instructions on why they have overpaid and a request to return and/or forward the surplus funds via wire, Western Union, pre-paid cards, MoneyGram, etc.
Overpayment is ALWAYS a scam, there are no legitimate reasons for someone to overpay and request the forwarding of the surplus funds --- if the buyer made an error a new check should be requested, if someone wants fees paid to a third party they should do this themselves.
This is also similar to an overpayment scam but the funds are for “start-up costs” or fees associated with the work from home venture or Secret Shopper job expenses. The fake check is given to the victim with instructions to forward the money on to a third party for the fees or equipment or services required of the job.
With Secret Shopping scams – the fake check is provided as the payroll and surplus to be used to purchase pre-paid cards, wire services, or other means of forwarding the funds on to the fraudster with the cover-story of evaluating the shopping experience of the requested money service.
First and foremost, if you did not enter a lottery you are not going to win a lottery. There are no legitimate online lotteries in which randomly selected winners are chosen to receive substantial cash prizes; there are no multi-company funded lotteries in which random winners are selected; there are no lotteries that provide you with a check to cover fees and/or taxes upfront. It is also illegal to participate in overseas lotteries. In short, you can’t win if you didn’t actually play and you can only play if it is a valid legal state lottery.
These can be tricky as victims of this scam are more personally involved with the fraudster and may not wish to believe it is a scam. The fraudster will often spend weeks or even months baiting the victim and gaining trust. When they make their move, the fraudster will request some kind of emergency funds (they are in the hospital, had a wreck, got locked up, stranded someplace, etc.)
The fraudster may give excuses as to why they need to move funds through the victim’s account and the victim will be talked into willingly giving up their account access which allows the fraudster to make remote deposits using fake checks or stolen account information. The victim is then asked to wire all or most of the funds to a third party.
- Viruses and spyware can take over your system, slow it down and put your data, privacy, and internet accounts at risk. Simply read these tips to learn how you can help protect your personal and financial information from online threats.
- Update your security software and run a complete system scan on all your computers.
- Download the latest version of your web browser to help safely surf the web.
- Update your operating system to ensure you have the latest security updates.
- Back up your data regularly using a removable storage device or cloud.
- Make wireless network security a priority at home and on the road.
- Don’t click on any ads, pop-up windows or banners that look suspicious.
- U.S. Department of Justice data show that identity theft is the fastest-growing crime in America, and studies show that the 18- to 29-year-old age bracket accounts for 30% of all identity-theft complaints.
- Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal identifying information, like your name, Social Security number (SSN), or credit card number, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes and to get credit in your name.
- No one can totally eliminate the risk of identity theft. Think of your SSN, financial account numbers, and passwords as the Holy Grail—sacred and powerful. You can reduce your chances of becoming a victim by following these simple guidelines:
- Don't carry your Social Security card in your wallet unless you need it that day.
- Avoid using public computers to access financial accounts, and use intricate passwords.
- Limit personal information online.
- Shred any paperwork that contains nonpublic information.
- If you access financial accounts or shop online, make sure the Web site is secure. Secure sites have an “s” after the http—https://.
- Check your credit report regularly at annualcreditreport.com and monitor your transactions. Reconcile your accounts regularly.
- Keep an inventory of everything in your wallet and on your electronic devices.