The scammers continue to come up with new angles for scams. One that is becoming more popular is a variation on the fake check scam. Instead of wiring the money to the scammer via MoneyGram or Western Union, the bad guys have their victims purchase Green Dot MoneyPak Cards or other pre-paid cards and send the PIN numbers to the scammers. Here is how it works:
The victim receives a check which they are instructed to deposit into their bank account. They are told to purchase some Green Dot MoneyPak Cards at various locations, and to evaluate the retailers. The victims are told to email the evaluation forms along with the 14-digit code from each of the pre-paid cards.
What the victim doesn’t realize is that the checks they received were fraudulent, and once the PIN code is given to the scammer, the money loaded on the cards can be transferred and used by the scammer. Sometime later, the victim discovers that the check they received has bounced, and they are required to repay the money they gave to the scammer.
Green Dot MoneyPak Cards are often used by people who do not have bank accounts or credit cards. Once customers purchase a card at a participating retailer with cash, they can use it to reload prepaid cards, add money to a PayPal account without using a bank account, or make same-day payments to major companies.
This is what Green Dot MoneyPak says on their website about these scams:
Just as with other fake check scams, the thieves use many different names, email addresses and company names. They may use the name of a legitimate mystery shopping company or try to claim that they represent legitimate businesses. It never matters who they say they are.
If someone sends you a check or money order, asks you to cash it and wire money or send the PINs from pre-paid cards to them, they are trying to scam you.
If you receive a package from one of these low-life criminals, do not cash the check or money order. Turn it over to your bank or to law enforcement, or just shred it. Do not rely on a bank teller telling you that the check “looks good.” The bank will not be out the money when you get scammed, you will be.