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Warning: Phone Scam Tries to Take Your Money

The Arkansas Attorney General's Office tells us how the scam works so you'll know if they target you.
The state Attorney General's Office is warning Arkansans about a new phone scam.

These scammers are calling Arkansans and telling them that they are behind on their utility bills and demanding immediate payment.

Some Arkansans have lost thousands to these con artists who ask you to pay over the phone right away.

Deputy Attorney General Jim DePriest tells us more about the scam and what you can do to avoid falling victim to it.

They ask specifically for reloadable debit cards, such as Green Dot MoneyPaks, for payment.

MoneyPaks are easy choices for scammers because they do not need the card itself to access the money loaded onto it. Fraudsters simply ask consumers for the number listed on the back of the card, then use that number to draw down the account. The transactions are difficult to trace and it is almost impossible for victims to get their money back.

MoneyPak scams sometime involve promises of sweepstakes winnings, if only the "winner" pay an advance fee by loading money onto the card and providing account information to a scammer. In another common scam, the con artist poses as a friend or relative in a bind and in need of money quickly. Other types of MoneyPak scams are tied to sales of nonexistent merchandise on Internet classified and auction websites. In some instances, consumers who have responded to loan offers have been asked to pay advance fees on MoneyPak cards, but they never receive loans.

Green Dot, the company that issues MoneyPak cards, advises consumers to protect the cards just as they would their cash and their wallets. MoneyPak transactions, unlike credit card transactions, cannot be reversed.

Keep these tips in mind to avoid falling victim to this scam:
  • Never give a MoneyPak number to an unknown individual.
  • Refuse any offer that would require the purchase of a MoneyPak and the sharing of the MoneyPak number or receipt information with someone else, either by telephone or email.
  • Do not email a MoneyPak number directly to any merchant, and beware of websites that specifically ask for payment via MoneyPak.
  • Be wary of using a MoneyPak card for any offer that requires payment before an item is received.

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