Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) has received numerous reports of fraud schemes involving Green Dot MoneyPaks (reloadable debit cards). These pre-paid cards have become the money-moving method of choice for scammers and are readily available at many retail outlets including grocery and drug stores. The scammer convinces his victim to purchase Green Dot Moneypaks and forward the card PIN to the scammer. Once the scammer has the PIN, he has immediate access to the money; which, like cash, is virtually untraceable; they do not need physical possession of the card.
Beware of these Green Dot Moneypak scam variations:
- Imposter Scams – The scammer will contact you via phone or email and claim to be a law enforcement officer, a government agent (such as IRS), a debt collector, a utility company representative, or a bail bondsman. The imposter will often threaten to issue an arrest warrant, contact law enforcement, shut off a utility, or arrest a relative, unless immediate payment with a Green Dot MoneyPak is made.
- Grant Fraud or Lottery Scams – The scammer will contact you with “news” that you are a recipient or winner of a grant or lottery prize. In order to receive the grant or collect your lottery winnings, the scammer says you have to pay fees or taxes right away via a MoneyPak. Sometimes the scammer will send you a check as an advance to “help” cover taxes and fees, with the empty promise of releasing the rest of the funds after you pay taxes/fees with a MoneyPak. The check, of course, is later discovered to be fake.
- Online Auction/Sale Scams – The scammer will post online ads for goods or services and request payment by MoneyPak. The goods or services don’t arrive and the “seller” is unreachable.
- Romance Scams – Scammers create fake profiles on dating sites and will go to great lengths to begin a long-distance relationship with you. At some point the fake profiler will tell you about a financial hardship or an ill family member and ask for you to send money, often by MoneyPak.
The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office reminds citizens to be wary of solicitations requesting you to pay fees or fines with MoneyPak cards or wire transfers. These types of contacts to citizens are scams. Please review the tips listed below.
Tips to avoid becoming a victim:
- If you are contacted by someone identifying himself as Law Enforcement and demanding money, simply hang up and call your local law enforcement agency immediately. The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office reminds citizens that no law enforcement agency contacts citizens by phone, e-mail or regular mail and tells them to pay fees/fines by wiring money, using pre-paid money cards, using a money telegram, or using similar methods.
- Visit Grants.gov or Govloans.gov sites to find grants and loans available through the government. Don’t be fooled by other sites that have ‘government’ or other official words in the title.
- If you receive a check along with a request for a MoneyPak fee payment, be wary.
- Don’t use the MoneyPak to pay taxes or fees to claim “winnings” on lottery or prize promotions.
- If something doesn’t feel right – pay attention to your instincts and don’t become a victim.