Untraceable MoneyPaks used in scams
Updated: Saturday, November 2 2013, 12:05 PM EDT
Green Dot MoneyPaks are growing in popularity, one of the main tools now used by scammers to get money from their victims.
“This shouldn’t be so easy,” said Lynn Doescher, “this is too easy for them to scam.”
Doescher’s father lost more than $30,000 in a Jamaican Lotto scam.
Over several months, the scammers contacted 83-year-old Bob Wagner and said they needed more money to present his check. Doescher said her father was instructed to use MoneyPaks to send the money. His bank account drained and on the verge of being evicted from his home, Wagner killed himself.
“When I went there already after he had taken his life, this is how we discovered how they were getting the money from him.” Doescher said she found dozens of used MoneyPaks cards and receipts to show how much money her father had lost in the scam.
Available at more than 50,000 locations, MoneyPaks are sold at many grocery and pharmacy stores. Doescher said, “The stores that sell these, they need to understand how these are being used.”
MoneyPaks are used to put money on Green Dot debit cards, which work on a pay as you go system. The debit cards are not associated with any banks and the money cannot be tracked. All a debit cardholder needs is the claim number of the back of the MoneyPak to collect the money loaded onto the card. Essentially, the scammers use MoneyPak cards to turn victims into their own personal ATM machines.
“The scammers have found a new way to get their money quicker without it being traced,” said attorney Carlos Rodriguez. “They’re always a step ahead of you.”
The former New York Assistant Attorney General, Rodriguez said untraceable MoneyPaks have become a vehicle to transfer illegal funds and scam people. “It avoids wiring money, it avoids any paperwork,” Rodriguez said.
Between the Green Dot company and the stores that sell MoneyPaks, Doescher said someone needs to take some responsibility in the risk associated with these cards. “I’d like to see the banking industry and people who run these companies take ownership for this because they know what’s going on.”
At the very least, Doescher said the employees selling MoneyPaks should keep an eye out for people, especially seniors. “If somebody is 80 and they’re taking out $500 two or three times a day, a red flag should go up.”