Green Dot MoneyPak cards are becoming increasingly more popular in the prepaid debit card market… and among scammers. The cards are reloadable debit cards, available all across the United States at retail stores including Wal-Mart, Walgreens and CVS. Some use the cards as an alternative to having a bank account and although this may be useful, they lack the same security policies banks and credit card companies offer. Scammers have recognized this vulnerability and have no problem exploiting it. Scam artists have wised-up to the fact that more and more consumers are becoming skeptical of wire transfers and Green Dot MoneyPak cards are becoming the replacement. A consumer can load the card by paying cash at the store and use it like a debit or credit card, amounts spent are deducted and the balance remains on the card. Consumer can reload the card simply by adding more cash at a store. Every card has a scratch-of 14 digit security code, like an account number, that should not be shared with anyone. Once that number is given out, the card is no longer secure and is vulnerable to fraud and GreenDot MoneyPak does not have policies in place for consumers to dispute fraudulent charges or to recover money from fraudulent charges or transfers.
The scam takes a variety of forms but often times a consumer will call or contact a victim and tell them to load money onto the card and reveal the 14 digit serial number, with that number scammers can transfer the money onto their own prepaid debit cards, usually opened under stolen identities, and withdraw the money or make their own purchases. Most scams involve phone calls demanding money for outstanding bill and the victim is ordered to purchase a card, load it with money and reveal the security code. A variation of a fake check scam, instead of wiring funds, victims are asked to deposit the check, load it onto a Green Dot Moneypak Card and reveal the code. In 2012 scammers used the FBI’s name in a scam that disabled a victims computer stating the FBI is aware of illegal downloading activity and money needed to be loaded onto a Green Dot MoneyPak card and info entered onto the FBI’s website to avoid further legal action.
Green Dot MoneyPak Card scams have been on the rise since about 2010. Since then many companies, including Green Dot MoneyPak, have issued warnings about scams involving these cards to urge consumers to use the cards carefully. If a consumer never reveals the serial number the card should not get compromised and can be used safely for store purchases, paying bills or make withdrawals from ATMs. There are several important tips to remember if you use Green Dot MoneyPak cards:
· Never give out the 14 digit serial number to anyone. Anyone who calls and instructs you to load money onto a MoneyPak card and give them the serial number is probably a scammer.
· Never give receipt information about your MoneyPak purchase to someone you don’t know.
· Only use your MoneyPak card to reload your prepaid cards or accounts that you control.
· Refuse any offer that asks you to buy a MoneyPak and share the number or receipt information by email or phone.
· Be careful using websites that ask you to pay with a MoneyPak card and remember not to trust online merchants simply because they have a MoneyPak logo on their website. Scammers can create websites that look legitimate and fraudulently use logos.
· Unlike credit cards, MoneyPak transactions cannot be reversed. If the money is taken by a scammer there is no way to get it back.
· If you want to use a MoneyPak card to purchase something online, transfer the money from the card to a PayPal account first, so you do not have to provide the card’s serial number directly to the merchant.