Police are alerting residents about a scam involving Green Dot MoneyPak cards.
In the scam, victims are contacted by a caller who claims to be from a utility company or the IRS and states that money is past due. The caller then informs the victim that they can avoid having their utilities disconnected or being arrested or deported by making an immediate payment.
The caller tells the victim to go to a store and purchase a Green Dot MoneyPak Card and place a certain amount of cash on the card.
The victim is instructed to call back with the card in hand, scratch off the back of the card and read the serial number to the perpetrator. The scammer then drains the funds from the card.
Scammers may also claim that a relative or friend has been in an accident and that an immediate payment is required or that a relative or friend has been arrested and needs bail money.
Green Dot MoneyPak cards themselves are legitimate products; consumers can use them to reload other prepaid cards, add money to a PayPal account without using a bank account or make same-day payments to major companies.
These scammers are instructing victims to use MoneyPak cards because, unlike in scams involving wiring money, scammers do not need to show up at an office to claim the funds.
Utility companies and government agencies will not contact anyone demanding immediate payment by Green Dot MoneyPak, according to police. People should be suspicious of callers who demand immediate payment for any reason.
The NYPD is asking anyone with information about this scam to call 1-800-577-TIPS.