SEATTLE -- Using a reloadable debit card to send money is about to get trickier for a lot of people. The makers of one of the most popular money cards is changing the technology, and it has a lot to do with scammers who use the card for fraud.
Scammers love certain pre-paid cards because they can use the cards to trick you into sending money. The company that makes the popular Green Dot MoneyPak card are finally getting rid of a feature that makes it easy for scammers to steal your cash.
Reloadable prepaid debit cards are fast becoming the method of choice for paying bills, making purchases and getting cash. Millions of people prefer Green Dot MoneyPaks, but unfortunately, so do scammers who target vulnerable seniors for theft. Scammers call on the phone claiming to be IRS officials, utility bill collectors, or a grandchild urgently needing help.
Consumers are instructed to take money from their account and buy a Green Dot MoneyPak. Once they pay a retailer to load money onto the MoneyPak card, the consumer is instructed to provide the PIN on the card in order make the necessary payment. Once scammers get the PIN, they simply load all the money onto their own money card.
Green Dot has long had warnings about such scams on its
but many consumers say that's not enough. Now the company says it is phasing out the MoneyPak PIN product by the first quarter of 2015. The company instead will require all reload transactions to be done via a "swipe at the register".
Greed Dot says eliminating the MoneyPak PIN will also eliminate the opportunity for con artists to use the MoneyPak PIN to run scams against seniors and other vulnerable consumers.