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FBI Scam Alert: Businesses Warned on Debit Card Swindles

FBI Scam Alert: Businesses Warned on Debit Card Swindles
A new debit card scam is costing businesses big. / Credit: Credit card image via Shutterstock

The FBI is warning businesses not to fall victim to two new scams involving reloadable prepaid debit cards.

One scenario making the rounds involves scammers calling businesses and fraudulently representing themselves as a utility company employee. The caller tells the business that its utility bill is past due and service will be terminated unless a payment is made immediately.

The scammers inform the businesses that they can pay their debts right away with a Green Dot "MoneyPak" card, a reloadable prepaid debit card that can be purchased from a local convenience store, or via a valid credit card or bank account. Once the account numbers from the MoneyPak, credit cards or banks are provided, the scammer removes the funds on the MoneyPak card or steals money from the credit card or bank account.

In the second scenario, scammers are calling in bomb threats to retailers. Store managers are told to purchase and activate Green Dot MoneyPak cards with $500 loaded on each card.

If the manager refuses to buy the cards and provide the card numbers to the scammers, they threaten to blow up the establishment and continue to threaten store employees' homes and families.

In all reported instances, no manager has complied with the caller, and no explosive devices have been found.

According to MoneyPak.com, there is a $4.95 charge associated with Green Dot MoneyPak cards, but after purchase, it can be used to "reload prepaid cards, add money to a PayPal account without using a bank account, or make same-day payments to major companies." MoneyPak cards are similar to wire transfers and are untraceable.

In addition to law enforcement agencies across the U.S. issuing alerts on the scams, Green Dot MoneyPak advises customers to refuse any offer that asks them to buy a MoneyPak and share the number or receipt information by email or phone. For more information, visit the Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Originally published on Business News Daily.

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer and editor with nearly 20 years in media. A 1998 journalism graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff full time as a senior writer. Before Business News Daily, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Chad has also worked on the other side of the media industry, promoting small businesses throughout the United States for two years in a public relations role. His first book, How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business, was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.