Better Business Bureau and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division (AGED) are warning consumers that online thieves have found a new method of siphoning cash from them: Green Dot MoneyPaks. MoneyPaks, which are sold in stores throughout the U.S., are reloadable debit cards normally used to make same-day payments or add money to prepaid cards or PayPal accounts. In recent weeks, both BBB and the DPS have noted a significant increase in schemes where scammers either tried to solicit – or were able to collect – payments via MoneyPak for merchandise, advance fee loans or sweepstakes prizes that all proved to be fraudulent or nonexistent.
“Both of our agencies are noticing that more and more scammers are moving away from seeking payments via wire transfer and instead asking consumers to give them money via MoneyPaks,” said Kim States, BBB President. “We feel this is likely due to the fact this form of payment is quite convenient – for both consumers and scammers – and untraceable.
BBB and DPS say any website requesting payment via a MoneyPak is likely a scam. They also say people should be very cautious when using MoneyPaks to pay companies or individuals they don’t know, and want people to understand that once they load a MoneyPak with funds, anyone they share the number of that card with will also have access to those funds.
Bill White, an agent with AGED, says fraudsters will convince consumers to put money into their MoneyPak card, get them to share its serial number, and then the scammers empty the card of funds, leaving consumers empty-handed.
“These scammers are smart and are extremely effective at gaining trust of their victims and convincing them they’ve won a prize,” says White. “The base rule to avoid being scammed is to understand that (more…)