Beware of Green Dot MoneyPak Scams

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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35 Comments

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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
desertmap

Green Dot Pak should be put out of business - they should reverse disputed charges back to the buyer of the cards. I don't understand why the Gov't allows them to be in business. I lost $240.00 that's is a lot of money these scams are being done by people from India - lousy SOBs they got to be caught and put against the firing squad. They talk about religion and God well they are nothing but the devil -

January 20 2014 at 10:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
jamie.mcafee

I was scammed twice, and I'm still getting phone calls, so I started writing down the information they gave me, I want to know how we are suppose to get our money back and what is going to be done about these people. If anyone knows and needs information in regards to finding these people please contact me and I will be more then helpful to bring those people down. This is not fair that they get away with screwing over the people in this country that actually work hard for that money.

December 29 2013 at 8:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to jamie.mcafee's comment
she-she

It's a shame I reported them to the US federal bank it's a shame

March 28 2014 at 9:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
geralyn_robinson

We got a call from an Indian guy claiming to work for Dollar Loan Center saying that we were approved for a $3,000 loan. So my husband called and asked about the loan. They told him that he had to call their financing center. Fine, he called. They said payments would be $140 for 24 months. Sounds great. Then he said "go buy a green dot moneypak for $184 and call me back with the number. We have to make sure you can make the payment. This is for your protection". What? No. So we googled it and found this page. We weren't going to do it anyway, but now I can warn others. Dollar loan center is the name of a reputable company that does payday advances in 4 states, we would have fallen for this if not for the green dot request.

December 18 2013 at 3:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
thomasm124

I had the same experience. I was called by man named Shawn Cooper 1772-933-9314 saying he was with Cash Advance and i qualify for a 3000 dollar loan. He told me i had to get a moneypack card and put 215.00 on it for the money to be transferred. I told him he could transfer it in my regular bank account he said i had to pay the first installment first. So i figured something was fishy about that. So i proceeded to challenge him kn everything he then hung up on me. Sorry for all those who were scammed by this. The government should really crack down on these deceitful people. I just got out of the marine corps and was injured in Afghanistan if i had it me way i would line this people up ad give them a good beating.

December 18 2013 at 8:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sheila.gordon2

I was sent a request like that also I was wondering did the bank cash the check

December 11 2013 at 5:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply