Fort Collins Police Services is warning residents about a new scam that has been occurring in Fort Collins. The scam involves Green Dot MoneyPak reloadable debit cards. MoneyPaks can be used for funding PayPal accounts and to pay phone, cable or credit card bills. They are available at over 50,000 locations nationwide. But they are also used by criminals to steal money from card holders.
Here is how it works. You receive a call from an unknown person stating you have won a sweepstakes from out of state. You only need to pay the taxes before the winnings are distributed to you. The caller, who is quite convincing, will tell you to make the payment via the MoneyPak card. After you purchase the card you are asked to scratch off the serial number on the back and provide it to the sweepstakes representative. Unfortunately, you just gave them your money and the sweepstakes is a fraud.
Another form of fraud involves the sale of merchandise on sites like EBay or Craigslist. The seller tells you that you must pay using the MoneyPak card. And again, you are asked to provide them with the serial number on the card. However, there is no merchandise but you have given them your money.
The MoneyPak card has a bold message on the back.
“FRAUD ALERT: Use your MoneyPak number only with businesses listed at www.moneypak.com
. If anyone else asks for your MoneyPak number, it’s probably a scam. If a criminal gets your money, Green Dot is not responsible to pay you back.”
To avoid being scammed here are some tips:
• Never provide your MoneyPak card number to someone you don’t know or is not an authorized business.
• Be wary of websites or Craigslist advertisements linking websites where customers are specifically asked to pay with MoneyPak cards.
• Avoid offers that don’t accept credit card payments and require you to purchase a MoneyPak and then provide the card number via email or by phone.
• Beware of websites requesting MoneyPak as a form of payment even if they display the MoneyPak or Green Dot logo. You should always check with www.moneypak.com
for a list of approved MoneyPak partners.
• Avoid giving any personal information or MoneyPak card payments for sweepstakes winnings.
• When in doubt check with the local BBB, police, the Federal Trade Commission or trusted sites such as AARP for scam alerts.
• If it sounds too good to be true- it’s probably a scam.
If you have questions regarding this or other possible scams please contact Sgt. Don Whitson, Fort Collins Police Services at 970-221-6543 or