Scammers Use a New Method to Steal Your Money
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Con artists are using a new payment method, combined with old scams, to cheat North Carolinians. Their targets are usually seniors and the bait is unchanged: potential victims are contacted, often by phone, and told they have won cash, a new car or another large prize.
In the past scammers often convinced their victims to send money via Western Union or MoneyGram. Now, increasingly, they are using reloadable debit cards.
After the victims are informed of the prize they won, they are instructed to visit a local WalMart store or other location where Green Dot MoneyPaks are available. They are told to put some money, usually a few hundred dollars, onto a Green Dot reloadable debit card to cover taxes, fees or other charges associated with the prize. Once the money has been loaded, the scammers get the card’s account number from the victim. They drain the account of all of its funds in an electronic transaction that is both instantaneous and untraceable.
Green Dot is aware that its services have been abused, and offers anti-fraud tips
on its website. Remember, never pay up front for any prize, award, or other “winning.” If someone asks you to do so, they are trying to steal your money.
If you spot a scam, report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or filing a complaint online at www.ncdoj.gov