A new method of scamming: Green dot cards

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) –- Green Dot money cards: they’re becoming the new method of choice for scammers trying to rip people off, according to West Michigan’s Better Business Bureau.

Leona Zimmer found that out first-hand after becoming one scammer’s target. She recorded the call the scammer placed, in which he said he had a prize for her from Publisher’s Clearing House.

“He said, ‘Well, we want to give you… you’ve won a million dollars and a car, and we’d like to deliver that today,’” Zimmer told 24 Hour News 8.

The caller sounded awkward, like he was new at it. In addition, his barely understandable accent tipped Zimmer off that the man wasn’t actually affiliated with the real Publisher’s Clearing House.

During the call, the crook told Zimmer to get two Green Dot debit cards loaded with a total of $300, and to wait for someone to arrive to pick them up. Then, the crook said, she’d get her prize.

Phil Catlett with the Better Business Bureau told 24 Hour News 8 that Green Dot cards are the newest method being used by scammers.

“I was talking to our staff that deals with scams and victims of scams, and they said that the Green Dot money cards are becoming the method of choice to try to rip people off,” Catlett said.

Green Dot cards are easy to get, as they are for sale in 50,000 locations. And crooks like them because they’re as good as cash.

“It can’t be traced and it’s a wonderful vehicle to use when you’re trying to rip somebody off,” Catlett said.

The crooks can send someone to pick up the money cards in person or they can just get their victims to read off the card number over the phone. Once they have that, they can use the money however they want.

“Virtually any time when you are told you you’ve won something and the next words out of their mouth is, ‘All you have to do is give us a few hundred dollars on a Green Dot money card,’ you know it can’t be real,” Catlett said.

Catlett said people have getting wise to crooks trying to get money wired through Western Union or Moneygram, so they’ve switched to the Green Dot cards.

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