APRIL 9, 2020 – NCIS has recently observed increased reporting from service members facing severe financial losses after falling victims to card-cracking scams initiated via social media with promises of getting out of debt and making extra money.
There are two primary methods used to establish contact with potential victims. One version involves a social media post or message sent by a purported debt consolidator or business owner to lure service members into responding; the other involves the service member receiving a friend request from a person who presumably shares many friends in common. After establishing contact, the service member receives a message from the scammer offering grant money as a “thank you” for their service or offering to pay money for their “debt relief.”
Both methods involve requesting the service member provide online bank account login information; service members may also be asked to answer security questions established through their online bank account. Victims have reported that after the money is deposited directly into their accounts, the scammer then asks the victim to send a portion of the money via wire or cash to a third party. Victims then discover that loans have been opened in their name with the same financial institution. Any attempts to further contact the scammer are unsuccessful, leaving the victim to pay off the loan.
NCIS urges service members to never provide bank account login information or personally identifiable details to anyone. Reputable financial institutions and organizations will not contact you and request personally identifiable information.
If you suspect you’ve been targeted with this scam:
- Immediately discontinue correspondence with the suspected scammer.
- Notify your bank or financial institution and attempt to have your accounts locked.
- Change all account passwords and seek additional security steps by your financial institution.
- Consider a credit lock through one or all three of the major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and Transunion).
- Notify your respective command, NCIS office, and/or respective law enforcement authorities. You may submit tips to NCIS using the NCIS Tips app or at www.ncis.navy.mil.
For more news from Naval Criminal Investigative Service, visit www.navy.mil/local/ncis/.
From Naval Criminal Investigative Service Public Affairs