Internet thieves who used MoneyGram and Western Union cash transfers to steal millions from unsuspecting consumers are turning to a new way of getting their cash: Green Dot MoneyPaks.
The MoneyPaks, sold in stores across the United States, are reloadable debit cards normally used to make same-day payments or add money to prepaid cards or PayPal accounts.
Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona warns that operators of phony websites are using the cards to help them cheat customers in much the same way they have used untraceable MoneyGram and Western Union wire transfers to defraud people in recent years.
BBB says the public should be very cautious when using a Green Dot MoneyPak to pay an unfamiliar company or individual. Anyone who requires an upfront payment with a Green Dot MoneyPak is very possibly operating a scam.
“This is a case where old dogs are certainly learning a new trick,” said Kim States, BBB President. “Consumers have become increasingly educated about avoiding MoneyGrams and Western Union wire transfers when sending cash to people they do not know. But many people still don’t realize that using Green Dot MoneyPaks can be just as dangerous.”
Nationally, BBBs have received numerous complaints from consumers who say they were scammed by fake companies requiring online payments through Green Dot MoneyPaks.
A senior airman at Scott Air Force Base near Shiloh, Ill., lost $1,000 last month when paying for a treadmill with a Green Dot MoneyPak. “I was taken,” he said. Another victim, from University Place, Wash., asked “How can I be so stupid?” after losing $240 in an online scam involving MoneyPak.
Several victims told BBB that they might have avoided the scams had the Green Dot MoneyPaks contained the same kind of warnings used by MoneyGram.
Last October, MoneyGram International, Inc., agreed to pay $18 million to settle Federal Trade Commission charges that the company allowed its money transfer system to be used by fraudulent (more…)