Card Cracking Scam
Affecting Service Members
Letter from USAA regarding potential credit card scams.
Our communication’s department asked us to send a message to our Affinity partners regarding a scam that is picking up traction to see if you could help us get the word out as much as possible.
Service members are under attack by scammers and it’s potentially hurting their careers and their future financial fitness. Veterans and families members are not immune either. I apologize in advance as this email may be extensive, but we are asking for your immediate help to get the word out about an extremely serious scam.
Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen and Coast Guardsmen (the majority in the enlisted ranks) are being targeted and accumulating debt up to $20,000 in belief there is a simple path to making easy money on social media.
Example: A Navy Seaman E-2, 20 years old, had a checking account balance of $25 at USAA. After he engaged with the fraudster and provided account information, several fraudulent checks were deposited into his account, totaling $17,453. The fraudster withdrew his fee and left the E-2 liable for $6,500. An Army Private E-2, 18 years old, has a similar story, but this soldier was left responsible for $9,565. This amount is carried to collections and will follow these young service members, impacting their credit and financial futures.
This is an industry wide problem and the American Banker Association recently created a great visual to showcase the details. American Banker also published an article highlighting the scope of this crime. USA Today has run a similar story to generate awareness.
USAA is committed to protecting our members and regardless where your members bank, we ask your help to bring awareness of this issue so they don’t fall victim to these scams.
Thank you for taking the time and energy to educate the 1CDA membership on this social media scam, predominately seen in Instagram, but also showing up on Facebook and Twitter. Here are some details about the scam:
How long has it been around?
* Fraudsters began targeting people on social media about 18 months ago. However, it has drastically grown in the past few months especially amongst younger targets.
How does it work?
* Victims are offered the ability to make ‘easy’ money in exchange for their personal information (bank log in, password, PIN).
* Fraudsters deposit funds into the member’s account, $5K to $10K, withdraw their fee, usually 50 percent, before the funds are identified fraudulent, leaving the member or joint owner (e.g. parent, spouse, family member, etc) responsible for funds.
What are the consequences?
* The person is responsible for funds since they proactively shared their personal information with the fraudster.
* The amount will carry over to collections and reside in their credit history until resolved.
* Victims of these scams risk ruining their credit, financial futures, careers, and some may even lose security clearances or face criminal charges.
What are the demographics of the victims?
* 87% under 31 years and 28% under 21 years
* 67% enlisted
* This scam has targeted all military members, but 58% are Army
* 26% non-military (college students, parents of servicemembers, military families, etc.)
How can we help you educate your organization?
* We have crafted a message that you can share with your service members, included below.
* Included are two social media posts that you can leverage that link back to an article with additional
information on usaa.com.
- Facebook: Has someone offered you easy money via social media? There’s no such thing – learn how to protect yourself (and your financial future) from social media scams. http://bit.ly/1ELIhxh
- Twitter: Can you spot a social media scam? Find out: http://bit.ly/1HioWHU #scamalert
- 3 Things to Know About Social Media Scams: http://bit.ly/1S1o5kS #scamalert
Should you desire to send a communications notice, email, or e-newsletter out regarding this topic, attached is a proposed message that you can use and modify as necessary.
Please let me know if you are able to assist or have any questions. Thank you again for your attention and your partnership in helping us protecting our service members, veterans and their families.