Wisconsin BBB Advises: Beware of Green Dot MoneyPak Scams

May 20, 2013
Milwaukee, Wis.  May 20, 2013 - The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to beware of scammers using the Green Dot MoneyPak prepaid cards to scam. These reloadable debit cards are widely available nationwide and can be purchased at many local stores. 

MoneyPaks can be used for funding PayPal accounts and to pay phone, cable or credit card bills. But the BBB warns that criminals are also using them to con consumers. 

Fraudsters will call or email you saying that you won a lottery or sweepstakes, or offering a product or service at a discount price. Then, they say you need to pay fees to get your prize, or pre-pay for the merchandise via MoneyPak. Next, they ask for the 14-digit code found on the back of the card. Once you’ve given them that code, you’ve given them instant access, and the crooks can transfer your MoneyPak funds to their own prepaid cards.  

“Using a prepaid card is a convenient way to pay bills online without the threat of risk to your bank account, but scammers have found a way to use them too”, says Ran Hoth, Wisconsin BBB CEO/president. “Be careful what you do with your cards and don’t give the code on the back to anyone you don’t know. Treat MoneyPak cards like cash. Unlike credit cards, MoneyPak transactions can’t be reversed.” 

To avoid falling for MoneyPak scams, consumers should: 

  • Never give their MoneyPak number to someone they don’t know.
  • Use your MoneyPak only to reload your prepaid cards or accounts that you control.
  • Refuse offers that ask you to buy a MoneyPak and share the number or receipt information by email or phone.
  • Avoid websites or advertisements specifically requesting payment via MoneyPak.
  • Don’t use the MoneyPak to pay taxes or fees to claim “winnings” on a foreign lottery or prize promotion.  Foreign lotteries are illegal, and you shouldn’t have to pay to receive a prize. Unless it’s an approved MoneyPak partner, don’t use MoneyPak for any offer that requires you to pay before you get an item.
  • Remember that advance-fee loan offers are illegal and targeted at customers struggling with debt and poor credit.
  • If you’re told you have to pay a fee—via MoneyPak or wire transfer—to collect a 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 e-mail or phone.
  • Treat MoneyPak cards like cash. Unlike credit cards, MoneyPak transactions can never be reversed.
  • Check MoneyPak’s list of approved partners before you use your MoneyPak to pay. 

For a list ofapproved partners, information regarding common scams to avoid, or to report a scam, visit MoneyPak’s website at www.moneypak.com or call Green Dot at 1-800-GREENDOT (800-473-3636). If you believe you are a victim of fraud, contact your local police department and the Federal Trade Commission. 

For more information or further inquiries, contact the Wisconsin BBB at www.wisconsin.bbb.org or 414-847-6000 (metro Milwaukee), 920-734-4352 (Appleton), 608-268-2221 (Madison) or 1-800-273-1002 (elsewhere in Wisconsin). Sign up to receive scam alerts, and report scams on the BBB's special Scam Stopper website:http://www.bbb.org/scam-stopper/. Consumers also can find more information about how to protect themselves from scams by following the Wisconsin BBB on TwitterFacebook and YouTube.