RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – Crooks have found a new way to try and take your money. Instead of trying to get you to wire money -- many are hoping for payment with a MoneyPak card. If you have a Moneypak card, then you know it can be a convenient way to send money. The cards are re-loadable debit cards, normally used to make same-day payments -- add money to prepaid cards or pay-pal accounts.
Consumers are catching on to the concept, but Tom Gallagher, with the Richmond Better Business Bureau says, so are the crooks.
"This is a remarkable simple way to take money from folks," he told us.
The BBB says scammers are trying to fool consumers into making payments with the MoneyPak cards. They usually get the unsuspecting cardholder to pay for nonexistent merchandise, advance fee loans, or phony sweepstakes.
"The bad guys are able to go in get the money out and nobody knows where they are. It is all done electronically, it all done over the internet, those things are cashed in and it's an easier thing to do for the bad guy than using a Western Union Money Order," Gallagher said.
MoneyPak is aware of the potential for scams, it has posted safety tips on its website. The cards are like cash -- if you lose it, you can pretty say goodbye to all the money you've loaded on it. Also, never give out your MoneyPak number. Crooks can wipe out the card and all transactions are final. Another important tip, steer clear of websites that only want you to pay with MoneyPak.
The BBB says some crooks are now requesting payment with MoneyPak instead of to the old money order or wire tricks -- hoping consumers will think the transaction is legitimate -- Gallagher says don't be fooled.
"The crooks are paying their bills they got mortgages to pay just like everybody else and they are very good at this, it is what they do for a living and the reason they call a con man and con man is because he is building your confidence," he said.
For about $5.00, you can pick one of the cards at places like Wal-Mart, CVS or 7-11. Just remember -- your best protection to keep your money safe is you. Another piece of advice, MoneyPak says you should only use the cards to reload prepaid cards or accounts you control.
For more about MoneyPak and more safety tips visit the links below:
Copyright 2011 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.
WWBT-TV NBC 12
P.O. Box 12
On Your Side
Video and Pics