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29 people charged in 'cracking cards' cases costing banks millions of dollars

An aspiring Chicago rapper took a shortcut to the high life through a bank fraud scheme called “cracking cards,” which targets college students and others hungry for quick cash, authorities said Wednesday.

Kevin “Bandman Kevo” Ford, 26, is one of 29 defendants charged with being involved in the scheme in Chicago and Indiana.

In a card-cracking case, crooks dupe a bank customer into turning over his or her debit card and personal identification number (PIN). The criminals then deposit a counterfeit check into the account and use the debit card to withdraw cash from an automatic teller machine or currency exchange — before the bank learns the check was a fake.

Often, the bank customer, who was promised a share of the proceeds, gets nothing. And later, the bank might go after the gullible customer to recover the loss.

“This is a widespread scheme and a widespread problem,” U.S. Attorney Zachary Fardon said at a news conference.

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