According to Better Business Bureau reports, consumers across Western Washington are being scammed out of hundreds of dollars with prepaid money cards. These cards offer many conveniences, but create easy opportunities for scammers; consumers should be aware of the dangers associated with prepaid cards.
In February 2014, BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington received information from a woman who claims to have been ripped off by an elaborate Green Dot MoneyPak scheme. The woman reports that a person called her home stating that her son was eligible for a $7,500 education scholarship. The caller directed the woman to load a Green Dot MoneyPak card with $200—to pay the “processing fees”—and call back. After giving the caller the prepaid card number, she was instructed to wait for further instructions. However, the caller never followed up about the scholarship and the funds were drained from the card.
Green Dot MoneyPak cards can be advantageous when utilized for the right purposes, but crooks prefer these cards because of the anonymity and how easy it is to make transfers: Once they have the 14-digit card number, they’re as good as gone.
BBB offers advice on avoiding prepaid card scams:
• Be suspicious of callers who demand immediate payment—for any reason.
• Never give out personal or financial information to unsolicited callers or emailers.
• Never wire money or provide debit, credit or prepaid card numbers to persons unknown.
Remember, anyone with the number from the back of a prepaid debit card has access to the funds on that card. Green Dot reminds people that it is not responsible for lost funds and offers additional resources at moneypak.com/ProtectYourMoney.
Note: Utility companies and government agencies will never demand immediate payment by prepaid debit.
For more information or to report a scam, visit BBB’s Scam Source.