Beware of these recent MoneyPak scams

By Robert E. Holtfreter, Ph.D., CFE, CICA, CBA

Taking Back the ID: Identity theft prevention analysis

Rodney Wentworth was a very good investor, always kept tight control of his money and looked for new ways to enhance his resources.

He sometimes used MoneyPak cards to pay for his online purchases. MoneyPak, sold by Green Dot, is a prepaid card. One day he noticed he had $300 remaining on a MoneyPak card. He figured he wouldn't be using the card for a while, so he decided to contact the company to get a refund. Rather than using the website information on the back of the MoneyPak card, Rodney searched online for the site. Unfortunately, the site he accessed was a fraudulent copy of the real website.

He called the phone number from the bogus site. A very cordial "customer representative" greeted him and asked him for the prepaid card number on the back of his MoneyPak card plus his credit card and checking account numbers to "process" the refund. The person on the phone told Rodney the refund would be processed within the week.

After two weeks, Rodney checked his credit card and check account to see if a credit for the refund was posted, and it wasn't. He then checked the balance on his MoneyPak, and it was zero. He realized he'd been scammed.


Although this case is fictional, it's representative of the scam the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) discussed on its website Oct. 7. (See Fraudulent Websites Posing as Green Dot MoneyPak Customer Support.)

In another significant version of the scam, a victim visits a fraudulent website, finds a phone number and talks with a MoneyPak "customer support representative" about a refund after someone stole funds, say $1,000, from his card. The "customer rep" tells the victim that he must load $1,000 on his card to initiate the refund. (If the victim refuses to reload the card, the rep hangs up.) The rep then says the claim will be processed shortly, and the victim will receive a refund for the full $2,000.

The rep gives the victim a supposed tracking or confirmation number and keeps the caller on the line while he drains the $1,000 from his MoneyPak card.


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