ALERT: Beware Of The Green Dot MoneyPak Scam - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

ALERT: Beware Of The Green Dot MoneyPak Scam

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FROM THE GRANT COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE: The Grant County Sheriff’s Office has received a recent report of a new scam and we want to keep the public updated. It is our hope that by keeping the residents of Grant County up to date on any new scam that we can limit the damage caused by these scams.

Green Dot MoneyPak Cards are becoming more popular within the community and also among scammers. These cards are reloadable debit cards which can be purchased at Wal-Mart and other larger chains.

People can use the cards instead of having a bank account. Once the cards are purchased, the customer loads money onto the card at the retailer and then uses the card like a debit or credit card. The card can be reloaded at any time.

Each card has a 14 digit security code on it. This number is similar to an account number and should not be shared with anyone. If the number is given to anyone, the funds loaded on that card are available to the person that has been given that number.

Here are a couple of examples of a typical scam involving Green Dot MoneyPak Cards:

1. A person sees a job opportunity on the Internet or is contacted by a company that offers them employment. Typically these jobs are secret shopper jobs. Once the person applies and is accepted for the position they are mailed a check which they are instructed to deposit into their bank accounts. After depositing the money they are told to purchase some Green Dot MoneyPak Cards at various retailers. They are emailed a form to complete to evaluate each store they purchase the cards at. They are told this is to evaluate the stores for marketing and research purposes. The "employer" instructs them to scratch off the coating on each card to reveal the 14 digit security code and email that code along with the evaluation form back to them.

What the victim doesn't realize is once that code is given to the scammer, the money is transferred to another account or Green Dot MoneyPak Card where it is withdrawn at an ATM or used for a purchase. The victim's money is gone and recovery of the money is not likely. Some of the business names the “employer” uses are Kodak Survey Inc. of Atlanta Georgia, or North Atlanta Survey.

2. Another scam is the lottery or sweepstakes scam. Scammers will call a person and tell them that they've won a sweepstakes or lottery, and that they need to pay taxes or handling charges in order to collect their winnings. The scammer tells the person to purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak Card and to load money onto the card. They tell the person they need the 14 digit security code for verification purposes and then their winnings will be sent to them. Once the scammer receives the code, the money is transferred to another card or account and immediately withdrawn or spent. The victim has lost their money and it is unlikely it will be recovered.

There are many more scams out there to target unsuspecting people. When dealing with someone who wants you to send money in any form, make sure you are dealing with a legitimate company. If in doubt research them on the Internet at sites like www.ripoffreport.com or www.scambusters.org or WWW.IC3.GOV (These links will take you to an external website that is NOT part of the Grant County official website). You may also contact the Better Business Bureau or your local police department.

Photo: A scanned copy of a scam check received by a Moses Lake resident. The name of the recipient has been redacted along with the check’s account number.

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