Police are warning residents to watch out for a nationwide scaminvolving pre-loaded Green Dot MoneyPak cards.
Galt police said that there have been recent fraud cases in which callers have masqueraded as agents from the Internal Revenue Service or representatives of a utility company.
The callers say that money is owed and the victims should go to a store and buy a Green Dot MoneyPak card. Galt police noted that the cards can be loaded with $500 or $1,000.
Victims are told that they need the cards to avoid having utility services discontinued or to avoid being deported from the United States. Once loaded with money, the victims are instructed during another call to provide a serial number to the scammer.
Once the scammer has the serial number, he or she can transfer funds onto a prepaid debit card, according to New York City Police. New York police note that Green Dot MoneyPak cards are legitimate products.
Once bought at a retailer, consumers can use MoneyPaks to reload other prepaid cards, place money in a PayPal account without using a bank account or make same-day payments to major companies.
Because the cards can be bought with cash, consumers don’t need to disclose personal or financial information. But the cards can also be a way for scammers to rip off unsuspecting consumers during phony phone calls.
Tips provided by Galt and New York police for consumers in order to avoid MoneyPak fraud:
Don’t give personal information over the phone.
Refuse any offer that asks you to buy a MoneyPak card, but if you do, don’t share the card number via phone or e-mail.
Utility companies and government agencies will not call and demand immediate payment via MoneyPak.
Remember: Anyone who has the number on a MoneyPak card has access to the funds on the card.
Call The Bee’s Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.