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Fraudsters Scam Victims with the Green Dot MoneyPak Card

Dark Street

by on January 22, 2014

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There’s something new sweeping the nation, and unfortunately it’s not a hot dance move. The Green Dot MoneyPak scam is making headlines from coast to coast and bilking victims out of thousands dollars.

What is Green Dot MoneyPak?

 In case you haven’t heard of it, the Green Dot MoneyPak is a prepaid card usually used by people who don’t have bank accounts. The cards are available at retail stores like Walmart and CVS for $4.95. They can be loaded with up to $500 at most retailers or $1,000 if used at Walmart, and then used to shop online or to add money to a PayPal account.

How the scam works

Prepaid card scams aren’t anything new, but this is the latest: A fraudster calls and pretends to be a representative from a utility company or an agent from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. The victim is told that he’s in default for a debt and must pay immediately to avoid having his heat shut off, or, in some cases, to avoid deportation. The victim is then told to buy a Green Dot MoneyPak card (usually at Walmart), load it with a specific amount of cash, and transfer the serial number to the swindler who then transfers the money to another card.

Scam artists are big fans of the Green Dot MoneyPak card because it isn’t linked to a bank account and just like cash, it’s untraceable. Unlike cash, though, the transaction can be done over the phone, so it’s totally anonymous, making it just about impossible to catch the criminal. Also, the card offers no consumer protection from fraud, so the victim isn’t getting her money back.

How to spot a scam

We all think we’re scam-savvy, but occasionally a a fraudster gets past our defenses. Now that you know about the Green Dot MoneyPak scam, you’re not likely to fall prey to it, but there’s a new scam lurking around every corner, waiting to pounce. Here’s how to stay safe:

  1. Never give personal information to a stranger.
  2. Be wary of anyone who calls on the phone trying to collect a debt. Look up the phone number of the organization the caller claims to represent (not the number on the caller ID) and check on your account.
  3. Call local police and ask whether residents have reported suspicious phone calls. You might also inquire about door-to-door collectors or salespeople.
  4. Keep in mind that many organizations don’t accept payment via prepaid card. Be wary of anyone who’s asking for this type of payment.
  5. Green Dot Corporation has its own tips for how to avoid fraud, and they discourage consumers from ever handing over a prepaid card number to anyone.
  6. Seniors are considered easy prey to fraudsters, so help keep your parents, grandparents, or other elders safe by informing them about the latest scams. Also, NerdWallet offers some general suggestions for fraud and identity theft protection.

What to do if you’ve been scammed

If you believe you’ve been the victim of a Green Dot MoneyPak scam, call your local police department immediately. Green Dot Corporation encourages you to report the crime to its company either online or by phone, and asks that you have your Green Dot MoneyPak card number and receipt for a reference. The company is very clear, though, that it will not offer a refund when victims have shared the card number with a criminal. You might also consider contacting CrimeStoppers USA at 1-800-222-TIPS. Last but not least, tell everyone you know. When it comes to scams, word spreads faster than photos of wet kittens on Facebook, and you might prevent someone else from becoming a victim.

Street image via Shutterstock

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  • Cindy

    I received a call yesterday from someone claiming to be from Comcast. They offered upgraded services for our internet and phone, to include international long distance calling and 50 mb download speeds (very tempting, of course), and all I had to do was prepay for one year of Comcast service at a reduced price of $34.99/month (rather than the $59.99 we’re locked in), so a total of $420. This was to be paid with a GreenDot.MoneyPak card. Once I purchased this card, I was to call the Comcast billing department for which, of course, they supplied the number. I’m so thankful to have found this discussion! Beware, beware, and remember – if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.

  • Sarah Rachel Dreher

    I was scammed just this past week and am now out one thousand dollars. I fell for the “Google Wallet vehicle-purchasing” scam, and followed all directions in the proper yet very naive manner. I cannot f***ing believe this. I filed a dispute with GreenDot MoneyPak and am now supposed to wait five business days. We shall see. All I can say is, God will get those f***ing scammers.

  • Lesieli Pomale

    Hey there everyone . I was ripped off as well. I put money on my green dot moneypak and it was gone . However i been doing research for the past 3 weeks and i finally got a phone number to their customer service . I gave them my info and their suppose to refund my money . I just have to wait for 5 business days and wait for their call. I told them if they dont call me back i will sue them . So it kind of scared them . If you want info on how i did this you can call me . I would love to help because i understand where alot of you guys are coming from. I lost $614.85 . My phone number is 925-752-5791 and my email is lesielipomale14@gmail.

  • Tana Rodriguez

    I was just scammed using this stupid card also I was scammed for 2500 and am so upset I reported online, but I will like to know how long would it take for them to respond to me and how can I get a refund?

  • donna fain

    I was scammed yesterday for 500.00 and was wanting to know how to get a refund I reported to the police answers please

  • Novelle Johnson

    Omg I was just scammed out of five hundred I really need that money back I hope they can help

  • sheeja

    i was scammed 8/16/2014..$700..dollar…then how can i get a refund ,,,pls..help me..my..email,,,,.sheejajoshy@msn.com…

  • Julian

    This happened to me last week.I received a call from someone claiming to be a process server, asked for me and asked me to verify my address which he had correct. He stated that he was going to hand me a legal court document regarding to a pending civil lawsuit the following day, I asked him about what it was in regards to, did not answer but directed me to call a number claiming to be a collection agency and that they will answer any question I have, also he gave me a case number that I needed to provide to the collection agency. I called them and provided with the case number, and the representative of the legal deparment who goes under Marcos Ramirez stated that the case was involving a debt owed to wells fargo on an overdraft fee I occured some 5 years ago. This all seemed so legit knowing that he also had my personal info and the amount owed was correct, kind of. He explained that the reason I needed to get the green dot card was because according to him Im not supposed to have a bank account under my name since my overdraft fee went delinquent and sent to the Chexsystems database. According to him if chexsystems were to see that I made a payment using a bank account, they could have it closed. It made sense to me at the time and it all seemed so legit. He wanted me to pay the full amount of 514.13 but told him I couldnt make it all in one lump sum. I asked if we could split the payments of three for each day I was paid and he agreed. So he instructed me to get the green dot card, call him the next day and pay the amount of 114.13 and the other payments of 200 would be done bi-weekly after that. The next day I call and make the “payment”, tonight I find out I have been scammed. Good thing I ran into this, out only 114.13 but its still very frustrating know that the money went to the pockets of some scum bag and not the debt collector. Idiot is expecting my call this friday for the next “installment payment”. Wont be getting that, ever. Feel bad that others are out alot more money than I am.