The Waupaca Police Department is warning consumers to be aware of a scam involving MoneyPak cards.
Green Dot Corp. is an issuer of prepaid MoneyPak cards in the United States. These products are available at more than 60,000 retail stores.
The cards may be used like normal debit or credit cards, but they are not backed by a checking account or line of credit. Purchases are deducted from the balance stored on the card.
The user can add more money to the card by paying cash at a retail store’s point of sale, or in certain cases from their paycheck.
Law enforcement and consumer protection agencies have noticed that a growing number of scammers are moving away from seeking payments via wire transfer and instead asking consumers to give them money via MoneyPaks.
This form of payment is not only convenient for consumers, it also can be easily exploited by scammers because once the money is paid, it is untraceable.
Victims of the scam are informed they won hundreds of thousands of dollars or vehicles in a sweepstakes, but need to pay an advanced fee with their MoneyPak card to claim their winnings.
The basic rule to avoid being scammed is to understand that legitimate lotteries do not require winners to pay fees.
Others\ victims have been asked to pay advance fees on bogus loans with MoneyPaks.
Any website specifically requesting payment via MoneyPak is likely a scam. Consumers should also exercise caution when using MoneyPaks to pay companies or individuals they do not know.
MoneyPak users also need to remember that anyone they share their card number with has instant access to their funds.
“Never give a MoneyPak serial number to anyone you don’t know,” according to Detective Sgt. Brian Hoelzel of the Waupaca Police Dept.
Consumers should check www.moneypak.com for a list of approved MoneyPak partners.
People also need to treat their MoneyPak cards like cash. Unlike credit cards, MoneyPak transactions can never be reversed.