An 80 – year – old Kerrville area woman answered her phone this past week and the caller told the woman she’d won 8 million dollars and a brand new Mercedes from Publishers Clearinghouse (PCH). But there was a catch. The woman was instructed to purchase Green Dot Prepaid MoneyPak Cards and provide the caller with the account numbers.
The woman purchased around $20,000 of the Green Dot cards and provided the numbers to the persistent caller; along with other private information as she was instructed.
By the time a caring relative discovered what had been happening, it was too late and the victim lost her money.
The Green Dot cards are pre-paid, loadable cards similar to other brands of credit and debit cards. Investigators caution that these scams are not isolated to any particular financial institution. The calls, usually from individuals speaking with a foreign accent, claim to be from Publishers Clearinghouse (PCH) or some type of sweepstakes. During the call, the scam artist claims that the individual has won a new vehicle, and or millions in cash. Before the vehicle or cash prize can be released or delivered, the “winner” must pay delivery fees, taxes and other costs. In some cases, scammers also tell their victims that their utilities (electricity, water, gas, etc.) will be disconnected if they don’t make an immediate payment.
Residents are then instructed to purchase one or more Green Dot MoneyPak pre-paid cards, available at convenience stores and pharmacies, and to place a certain amount of money on the card. Residents then are asked to provide the “MoneyPak” pin number on the card or from the receipt, allowing the scammers to transfer the money immediately from the card to another account. Once transferred, the money is lost.
“Don’t take any chances with your money, be sure that you have checked and verified everything before you provide any numbers off your Green Dot card or receipt”, said Community Services Officer Paul Gonzales.
If you’re a victim to this type of scam, please call the Kerrville Police Department, if you live inside the city limits, at 830-257-8181.