First off, Green Dot MoneyPak cards are legitimate reloadable debit cards that can be used to pay your bills. Many people who use them don't have bank accounts.
Scam artists love them because they are more convenient than a money wire and just as untraceable; and once they have the MoneyPak serial number, they are able to transfer funds onto a prepaid debit card.
After receiving a call from someone who claims to be collecting a debt for either a utility company or the IRS, people are being threatened with the loss of their heat, electric or told they will be deported. Utility Companies and the IRS do not take payments via a prepaid Green Dot MoneyPak card.
Here are some of the scams used and to be aware of:
The Utility Company scam: The victims are contacted by a caller who states that they work at a utility company and are collecting money that is past due. The caller informs the victim that they can avoid having their utility service disconnected if they immediately pay the past due amount using a Green Dot MoneyPak card that can be purchased at a local store. The caller instructs the victim to purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak card in a specified amount and provides the victim with a phone number to be called back when the MoneyPak has been obtained. The victim purchases a Green Dot card at a local store and proceeds to call back the number they were given. The victim is instructed to scratch off and read the MoneyPak card serial number to the perpetrator. Once the scammer has the Green Dot MoneyPak serial number they are able to transfer funds onto a prepaid debit card. The victim has now lost their money.
The IRS Scam: The victims receive a call and are told that they owe back taxes, fees or fines to the IRS, and that if they do not make an immediate payment using a Green Dot Moneypak card they will be arrested or deported. This scam is perpetrated in the same manner as the utility scam. The results are also the same, the victim's money is stolen.
6 Tips on How to Protect Yourself from Fraud:
- Never give your MoneyPak number to someone you don’t know.
- Never give receipt information about your MoneyPak purchase to another party.
- Use your MoneyPak only to reload your prepaid cards or accounts you control.
- Refuse any offer that asks you to buy a MoneyPak and share the number or receipt information by email or phone.
- To use your MoneyPak with PayPal or eBay or other online merchants, transfer the money to your PayPal account before you pay the merchant. Don’t email your MoneyPak number directly to any merchant.
- Don’t use the MoneyPak to pay taxes or fees to claim “winnings” on a foreign lottery or prize promotion. Unless it’s an approved MoneyPak partner, don’t use MoneyPak for any offer that requires you to pay before you get the item.