BBBThe Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to be on guard for a rising tide of scams involving Green Dot MoneyPaks, reloadable debit cards that are widely available nationwide at more than 50,000 locations.

Moneypaks can be used for funding PayPal accounts and to pay phone, cable or credit card bills. But the BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety's (DPS) Alcohol and Gambling Enforcement Division (AGED) say criminals are also using them to fleece consumers.

The BBB and the DPS have recently noted a "significant increase" in various schemes where fraudsters tried or succeeded in collecting payments via MoneyPak for merchandise, advance fee loans or sweepstakes prizes -- all of which turned out to be either fraudulent or nonexistent."Both of our agencies are noticing that more and more scammers are moving away from seeking payments via wire transfer and instead asking consumers to give them money via MoneyPaks," Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of the BBB, said in a statement. "We feel this is likely due to the fact this form of payment is quite convenient -- for both consumers and scammers -- and untraceable."

Any website specifically requesting payment via MoneyPak is likely a scam, the BBB and DPS warn. Consumers should also exercise caution when using MoneyPaks to pay companies or individuals they don't know.

MoneyPak users also need to remember that anyone they share their card number with has instant access to their funds. Con artist, says AGED agent Bill White, trick consumers to load their MoneyPak cards with cash and divulge the card number, allowing them to siphon the cards dry.

"These scammers are smart and are extremely effective at gaining the trust of their victims and convincing them they've won a prize," said White. "The base rule to avoid being scammed is to understand that legitimate lotteries do not require you to pay fees upon winning. In this specific case, never give a MoneyPak serial number to anyone you don't know."

In recent weeks, the BBB and DPS have received reports from consumers who:

  • Were asked to pay advance fees on bogus loans with MoneyPaks.
  • Were informed they'd won hundreds of thousands of dollars, but needed to pay an advance fee with their MoneyPak card to claim their winnings.
  • Purchased heavily discounted home exercise equipment they found advertised on a fraudulent website (www.directhomefitness.com) but, after paying hundreds of dollars with MoneyPak cards, learned the merchandise was nonexistent.

To avoid falling for MoneyPak scams, consumers should:

  • Be wary of websites or Craigslist advertisements linking to websites where customers are specifically asked to pay with a MoneyPak card.
  • Never give their MoneyPak number to someone they don't know.
  • Remember that advance-fee loan offers are illegal and targeted at customers and companies struggling with debt and poor credit.
  • Remember that if you're told you have pay to a fee -- via MoneyPak or wire transfer -- to collect a cash prize or sweepstakes winnings, you're being scammed.
  • Avoid offers that don't accept credit card payments and require you to purchase a MoneyPak and 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. Consumers should check www.moneypak.com for a list of approved MoneyPak partners.
  • Treat their MoneyPak cards like cash. Unlike credit cards, MoneyPak transactions can never be reversed.

The Green Dot Corporation is well aware of the problem and warns consumers on the homepage of their site to beware of scams involving MoneyPak cards. The company's homepage also provides a link to a separate page with tips on avoiding MoneyPak fraud, as well as details on a number of common scams.

Consumers who have been scammed by fraudulent offers involving Green Dot MoneyPaks should contact their local law enforcement and file a claim, as well as complain to their state's consumer protection bureaus and the Federal Trade Commission.

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Laura

With all the people that have been scammed by the greendot money pak. you had to give your bank account information, did they ever try to take any money from your bank account?

September 10 2014 at 5:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jetshuz

I was screwed !..I fell for the grandson line; even "talked"with my gandson !..... I had a discussion with the "police officer" ,about scams, and was still convinced this was a legitimate call ! they are hardcore pro's and great actors using a team approach to get their message across.

June 13 2014 at 11:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dawn hay

Greendot will never help u ! After many hours police intervention Greendot protects thier criminals who are they main source of revenue this company with all the complaints as u can see , they have no legitimate use but for their ability to perpitrate fraud n criminals. Is their anyone out in Greendot with a positive experience? I ask you?Do not expect cooperation from Greendot and thy seem in my opinion according to law enforcement to be highly uncoperative in helping victims They are on the side of the steathy street smart criminals!!!!!!! Shame on you Greendot money pkg u have made it easy for the criminals How does it company continue to exist. Plz do not fall victim as I have!Call law enforcement if u have been a victim lets get this company stopped their aggressious actions stopped, do not be ashamed to report that u were scammed report the crime Stand up DEMAND justice!!!!!!!

June 04 2014 at 1:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
LeeAnn

I too was approved for a $1000 loan and they told me it would be paid off with 7 monthly payments of a $148 a month. I had to buy a greenpak money card put $148 on it. I ask why and they said its to prove I am able to pay the $148. They told me that I would keep the $148 or I can apply it to the 1st month payment. Well it turned out I bought the wrong moneypak I got the debit card and not the one you scratch off the back. The loan guy which his name is Eric now tells me I have to go to Westren Union to send him the money. WHAT??? I told him this was my grocery money and I did not feel comfortable anymore. He tried to charm his way which he was hard to understand to begin with because I believe he was from India or somewhere. I did not go thru with it and I found this article to let others know DO NOT GO THRU WITH IT!! Since then my phone has been blowing up with a lot of payday advancers and ironically all their first names are Eric lol. The company that tried to scam me website is www.mypaydayloan

May 06 2014 at 1:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ddarno

We got fleeced for three grand by someone who pretended to be a grandson who had been in a car wreck and was in jail and needed the money to get out. We haven't called the police yet but will as soon as possible. What a shame for people who work so hard to scam others instead of working to find a job.

May 03 2014 at 11:22 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
she-she

I fell for this today nd didn't even noticed until they wanted575$ more for the taxes of the check, Smh they git me for 717$ but they will get what they deserve sooner than later, they called me saying that I was approved for a government grant Smh they won't get me again bet that it was San Martin nd he's from the US federal bank nd me Lorie white smh

March 28 2014 at 9:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jjten10

hey i just received a call from them they told me to go by a green dot pak and put 200 on there and i google it because i never heard of it !!

March 10 2014 at 8:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sherry L Bolden

i did fall for this......i was told by this guy....mike...that i had been approved for a 4000 loan that i had to buy a green dot moneypak and to put $250 on it....i did....like a dummy....well now theres a tax on it...the tax is 398.00../..now im bein told that i can pay half of that,,,,the place is called american loans n finance.....i need the 250 back but i see im not getting it......so american finance......yal need to stay out of my bank account.....IM GONNA CALL MY LOCAL COPS AND SEE WHAT I CAN DO TO PROSECUTE YAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

March 03 2014 at 5:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dee Stevenson

Wow is all I can say. I almost fell for this but knew immediately that it had to be a scam because I would never pay money to get money, what would I need the funds for. I do understand why these calls cannot be traced, especially since you can call them back. It's a sad reading all of this.

February 22 2014 at 4:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
thanhtpham727

I applied a loan online by internet
The company is fast cash payday loan for 5,000.00
But i had to pay the fee via moneypak...then i find out i got scammed...what can ido now? Please help!!!! Im konda lost!!!! They had all my info...even my social n bank account!!!

January 27 2014 at 8:55 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply