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Perth Amboy PD
Wednesday May 8th, 2013 :: 03:30 p.m. EDT

Green Dot reloadable debit cards SCAMS

This column highlights a scam you probably have never heard about but one that is easy to fall for: THE GREEN DOT SCAM!
Reloadable debit cards, especially the top-selling legitimate “Green Dot Cards”, are the new money moving method of choice for scammers.

The con itself is where fake companies are preying on unsuspecting people (usually the elderly) by luring them with a prize.
Residents receive a phone call informing them they have “Won” a prize or sweepstakes and all they have to do is buy a legitimate Green Dot Card. They usually lure you in further by asking you where you purchase your prescriptions or where you feel comfortable. Pharmacies such as Walgreens, CVS, and stores such as Rite Aid and Wal-Mart all carry these legitimate cards for a service fee of $4.95.
Green Dot cards are reloadable credit cards that are not tied to bank or credit union. The caller makes you feel that this is safe because you are purchasing this card locally.
The caller informs them that “IT IS NOT A SCAM” and by just purchasing the cards and loading up a certain amount of money it makes you eligible to receive prizes right through the mail or have the “lottery money” sent right to your home.
Next in order to receive your prizes or money you must call back this phony company and “Confirm your purchase” by just reading them the numbers off of this card to show your eligibility. At this point the perpetrator of the scam “instantly dumps the balance of your card to his account” this now makes the victim helpless in getting any of the money back.
In other words, it's a money transfer that bypasses the traditional cash- wiring companies and offers a far more effective cloak of anonymity for scammers.
But Wait There's More...
To add to the effectiveness of this con, the scam artists use another trick to fraud you out of your money. They will send you a check through the mail that appears to be from a valid company (Usually a recognizable National company) offering a “Refund or Rebate” to you.
These checks are either written wrong or in large amounts that appear unbelievable. At this point because the letters and checks look very real it makes people afraid to destroy them so of course they call the phone number attached to the cover letter. The representative will explain that they did “”overpay” and that if they would like to clear up the issue. They then suggest just depositing or cashing the check and then get a “Green Dot Card” and follow the same process of calling in the numbers.
They use "legitimate” looking checks with familiar logos in which banks and credit unions may accept them without query and the money may even show up in victims' accounts. A few weeks later, their bogus status is revealed -- by which time the victim has bought the Green Dot Card and sent the details to the scammer.
In one instance a resident reported the caller promised them winning the Indiana Lottery and they needed to purchase a Green Dot Card and follow the directions to “Pay the taxes and fees”.
Making the scam more easily believable, the perpetrators of the scam are using a “Magic Jack” device to use a local phone number or are using a bank of phones from a calling center so recipients of their calls believe it’s a legitimate offer from a local company. In reality, the caller could be on the other side of the country.

Perth Amboy PD
365 New Brunswick Ave
Perth Amboy, NJ 08861

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 732-442-4400

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