On Your Side Alert: Company phasing out MoneyPak

On Your Side Alert: Company phasing out MoneyPak

We've warned you about how crooks can use those Green Dot MoneyPak cards to steal your money. A big change is in the works to help keep criminals away from your cash; the cards are being phased out.

Meant for legitimate uses, those Green Dot MoneyPak cards were a golden ticket for crooks. Their mission was to deceive unsuspecting people into loading money on them --and it worked. They would operate the scheme in a number of ways. They could call or email you and say you've won a lottery or claim you have an old debt and need to pay. The cards are like cash. Once you give up your PIN, your money is gone and there is no tracing it.

Trista Townsend fell for it. Crooks duped her out of $150. They told her it was the fee for a $7,000 grant she'd won. "They just really got me. I hate for anybody else to go through what I went through," she said.

Now, there is a bit of a victory for consumers. Crooks won't be able to use this deception much longer. Green Dot, the company behind MoneyPak, is pulling the cards from store shelves by the end of March. A big reason is because criminals were misusing them and people were falling for the scams.

MoneyPaks were used to reload prepaid debit cards with cash, add money to PayPal accounts and make other payments. With the cards disappearing, consumers can no longer put cash on them online or over the phone. Now, they can only load money onto a prepaid card at a store

Consumer advocates warn that while this will stop thieves from using MoneyPak cards, crooks are always working on the next trick to fool you. Monica Sheeler says a big way criminals target you is with those bogus phone calls. The best thing to do is if you don't recognize the number, hang up. "You wouldn't open the door to somebody that was knocking on your door, that if you looked out that and recognized, I don't who they are so I'm not going to open the door. So why would you pick up the phone and allow to come into your home that way?" she said. When it comes to your money and personal information, always use caution.

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