Scam Alert!

I heard of a scam going around and the way the scam was to occur sparked my interest. You see, normally the scam artist will contact you and tell you that you’ve won a lottery worth an outrageous amount of money. But in order for you to claim your prize, you need to wire some money somewhere. The scam artist will tell you how much money to wire and where to send it. They will tell you that the money you wired will be “refunded” within your winnings. You are to call them once you have wired the money so they can tell you the next step in claiming your winnings. Well, there is no next step. You’ve just wired the money to their account and have let them know that it is there. Scam complete.

Mr. David Washington, the scam artist this morning, told me that I’d won a BMW complete with one year’s prepaid insurance courtesy of Geico. But he was different because he didn’t tell me to wire money to claim my prize. He asked that I go to Walmart and purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak card in the amount of $250. This was different because the Green Dot card is a prepaid, reloadable card that can be used like cash at several different retailers and for on-line purchases. I wasn’t “sending” anyone any money. At best, I would have a card loaded with $250 that I could spend almost anywhere. Now, here is the scam: Once I purchased the card, I was supposed to call Mr. David Washington back and give him the number listed on the back of the Green Dot card. Voila!! Instant cash for Mr. David Washington! Once you give the number listed on the back of the GreenDot card number out to anyone, you give access to the funds available on the card. Pretty sneaky huh?

This is from Green Dot MoneyPak’s website:

Here at Green Dot, we care about our customers and your hard-earned money, therefore, we want to remind you that the MoneyPak works just like cash. Fraudsters are always coming up with new ways to get your money. Would you give your cash or gift card to a stranger? Don’t give them your MoneyPak number either! Giving your MoneyPak number to someone you don’t know or a merchant that is not an approved partner puts you at risk of losing your money. The best way to protect yourself from being a fraud victim is to be aware of scams. Guard your MoneyPak Number like cash! Transactions cannot be reversed, so only give the number to approved MoneyPak partners. Green Dot is not responsible for the quality or non-receipt of any goods or services.

10 is On Your Side with the following advice to guard against scams:

– Remember if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

– Never wire or send money to secure winnings. 

– Never allow yourself to be rushed into a decision.  Scammers often try to rush decisions by limiting the offer time.  Always try to sleep on decisions or ask a friend about it.

– Always get agreements in writing

– If it seems suspicious, it probably is.  Notify the police.

Remember, EVERYONE IS A TARGET and you just have to be smarter than the scammer.

If you feel that you have fallen victim to a scam, 10 On Your Side recommends you immediately contact your local law enforcement and file a claim, file a complaint with The Better Business Bureau (BBB), and finally, spread the word about the scam.

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