PARKER, Colo. (CBS4) – Police in Parker are warning consumers to beware of a scam that has already cheated three people out of money.
The scammers call people pretending to be with a utility company, the IRS or a bank.
They claim the person owes money and can only pay it off by buying a Green Dot MoneyPak card.
Once the victim buys the card, the scammer asks them for the serial number and steals their cash.
One person lost more than $1,000 in the scam.
The Parker Police Department released the following details about the Green Dot MoneyPak card scams.
Since, Nov. 30, 2012, the Police Department has received several complaints from local businesses and residents who have fallen victim to this scam.
Here is how the scams work:
Residents and business owners receive a call from someone who claims to be collecting a debt for either a utility company or the IRS or a bank requesting additional information to process a loan request.
*The Utility Company Scam: The victims are contacted by a caller who states they work at a utility company and are collecting money that is past due. The caller informs the victim that they can avoid having their utility service disconnected if they immediately pay the past due amount using a Green Dot MoneyPak card that can be purchased at a local store. The caller instructs the victim to purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak card in a specified amount and provides the victim with a phone number to be called back when the MoneyPak has been obtained. The victim purchases a Green Dot card at a local store and proceeds to call back the number they were given. The victim is instructed to scratch off and read the MoneyPak card serial number to the perpetrator. Once the scammer has the serial number they are able to transfer funds onto a prepaid debit card. The victim has now lost their money.
*The IRS Scam: The victims receive a call and are told they owe back taxes, fees or fines to the IRS. The perpetrator states if the victim does not make an immediate payment they can be evicted from their home and have their bank accounts frozen. This scam follows the same format as the utility company scam, the results also being that the victim’s money is stolen.
* The Bank Scam: After the victim applies for a loan online they receive a phone call from a scammer claiming to work for a bank. The scammer tells the victim they have been approved for the loan however they need to pay a processing fee. The fee must be paid by a MoneyPak card. This scam follows the same sequence as the others, again with victim’s money being stolen.
Green Dot MoneyPak cards themselves are legitimate products when used for the right purposes. Once purchased at a participating retailer with cash, consumers can use the cards to reload other prepaid cards, add money to a PayPal account or make same-day payments to major companies. Because the cards can only be bought with cash, consumers never need to disclose their personal or financial information to a retail cashier or to make a payment.
While many schemes still involve scammers asking for funds to be wired to them, MoneyPaks have the added benefit of the scammer not having to show up at an office to claim the funds.
Anyone with the 14-digit number found on the back of the MoneyPak card can drain the card of funds. In all of these examples, the intended victims are instructed to buy a Green Dot MoneyPak card, load the amount of the fine or other money owed onto the card and then provide the number on the back of the card to the scammers, who will then drain the fund from the card.
Scam Prevention Tips
Be suspicious of callers who demand immediate payment for any reason.
Remember that anyone who has the number on a Green Dot MoneyPak card has access to the funds on the card.
Never give out personal or financial information to anyone who emails or calls you unsolicited.
Never wire money, provide debit or credit card numbers or Green Dot MoneyPak card numbers to someone you do not know.
Utility companies and government agencies will not contact you demanding immediate payment by MoneyPak.
If you believe you have been a target or victim of a scam, contact your local law enforcement agency. If you reside in the Town of Parker, contact the Parker Police Department at 303.841.9800.