Scam Targets Richmond Hispanics

January 30, 2012

RICHMOND, Va. – A scam recently surfaced in the Richmond area that appears to be targeting Hispanic citizens who subscribe to DirecTV®. A growing number of complaints have been reported by the City of Richmond’s Hispanic Liaison Office.

The complaints allege that a caller, who is believed to be Hispanic, is posing as a representative of DirecTV, the nationwide satellite-TV provider. He promises his called party that he will provide the service for only one dollar a day, provided that the subscriber make a one-year payment of $365 in advance.

The called party is, then, instructed to purchase a Green Dot® MoneyPak® pre-paid card and load it with $365. The individual is told to call a Philadelphia-area number and disclose his or her PIN so that the funds can be collected.

Green Dot Corp. sells pre-paid cards at a variety of chains in the Richmond area, including Walmart, CVS, 7-Eleven, K-Mart and Rite-Aid. Green Dot describes its MoneyPak card as “an easy and convenient way to send money to where you need it.” Neither Green Dot nor DirecTV are implicated in this scam.

“Consumers should be absolutely sure with whom they’re dealing on the phone. Never divulge a PIN of any kind to a stranger. Also, ask for offers to be sent to you in writing or contact your provider directly to verify any offer” advised Tom Gallagher, president and CEO of the BBB serving Central Virginia.

It is believed that a higher percentage of Hispanics subscribe to DirecTV in order to access a wider range of Spanish-speaking programs.

The BBB and Hispanic Liaison Office warn consumers against sharing any personal or financial information to unknown callers.

The city of Richmond Hispanic Liaison Office (HLO) increases access to city and community services, and promotes community information, education, and citizen participation. The HLO supports city agencies in developing the capacity to interact, communicate, and serve our diverse community.

The BBB in Central Virginia serves Richmond and Tri-Cities, as well as 42 surrounding counties, from Fauquier to Mecklenburg and Northumberland to Amherst. The nonprofit organization was established in 1954 to advance responsible, honest and ethical business practices and to promote customer confidence through self-regulation of business. Core services of the BBB include business reliability reports, dispute resolution, truth-in advertising, consumer and business education and charity review.