The Atherton Police Department has received reports from neighboring law enforcement agencies of scams involving Green Dot reloadable prepaid cards. There are also numerous reports in the press from across the country of thefts involving Green Dot cards.
Some of the local reports detail unsolicited telephone calls regarding utility bills. The caller tells the victim to remit a past due balance by using a Green Dot MoneyPak card that can be purchase in a local store. The caller threatens to send a representative to the location immediately to shut off power.
The caller instructs the victim to purchase the Green Dot MoneyPak card in a specified amount and provides the victim with a phone number to be called back when the card has been obtained. Once the suspect has the card’s serial number, they can transfer funds onto their account from an unknown location. The victim has now lost their money.
The Green Dot cards are legitimate reloadable debit cards that can be used to make purchases. They are not linked to a bank account, more convenient than a money wire, and just like cash, they are not traceable. The cards can be purchased at retail stores, but offer no consumer protection from fraud, so you do not get your money back.
To avoid becoming a victim, the Atherton Police Department offers these tips:
- Be suspicious of callers who demand immediate payment for any reason.
- Remember that anyone who has the “Green Dot” card number can access the funds associated to the card.
- Never give out personal or financial information to anyone who emails or calls you unsolicited.
- Never wire money, provide debit or credit card numbers, or “Green Dot” card numbers to anyone you do not know.
If you receive one of these calls, please call your local law enforcement agency.