Double Scammed! New MoneyPak Con Targets Prior Fraud Victims
Prepaid cards that can be loaded with cash and used like debit cards are the new payment form of choice for scammers, replacing the classic method of asking victims to send money via a wire transfer service like Western Union (WU) or Moneygram (MGI).
The most common vehicle is the Green Dot (GDOT) MoneyPak, which is available nearly everywhere and works just like a wire transfer. Once money is transferred via MoneyPak, it's gone without a trace.
But if you've been victimized by a scam, "gone without a trace" is not what you want to hear. You want to hear: "Hi, this is Green Dot customer service. Of course we can help you get your money back."
And that, according to the FBI, is just what a new crop of scam websites are doing: Pretending to provide customer service for MoneyPak, with phone numbers that actually lead to con artists aiming to re-scam the victims of earlier scams.
The FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center reports that it has received a large number of complaints about this new fraud technique. Typically, the victim is either someone trying to get a refund of what's on their card, or someone seeking help after they've been robbed in a scam involving a MoneyPak card, the FBI said.
Seeking Refunds or Help, but Being Victimized Again
In the refund version of the scam, the FBI said the crooks will ask for both the MoneyPak card number and either a credit card or checking account number, supposedly so a refund can be processed. Instead, the crooks now have all the information they need to use the victim's account to load the card, and then drain it.
The victim variation targets those who have already had money stolen from them using a MoneyPak card. The phony customer service representative will explain to the caller that to get the lost funds put back on the card, they'll have to first load the same amount of cash on the card again from their own account, because "reloading is the only way to process the refund."
"In most complaints, victims are given a tracking or confirmation number in connection with their call and report [being] placed on hold for a length of time while the representative claims to be researching the problem regarding the card in question," the FBI explains. "In all complaints, any funds available on the card are drained while the victim is on hold or immediately after the call is disconnected."
Thankfully, these particular scam variations won't be conning people for much longer. Green Dot has said it plans to retire MoneyPak early next year due to the fraud concerns.