Law enforcement agencies and consumer watchdog groups across the United States have been increasing efforts to notify the public of a specific scam involving demanding a consumer to purchase Green Dot MoneyPak cards (see insert), available at most retail outlets throughout the country, and transmit the reload codes over the phone to the scammers.
Recent scams of this variety have been designed to con a consumer into believing the caller is the utility company, for example, and they are behind on their electric bills or need equipment repairs and have a short time to make a payment. The customers are told to purchase a Green Dot reload card and call back with the reload number of the card to avoid having their electricity shut off.
Now, the scam seems to be turning up the heat…
Just today, the FBI Atlanta Office issued a press release that further details the serious extent these criminals are using to intimidate the victims: bomb threats! And the criminals are seemingly bypassing the (“slow con”) against the customer and going right to the source, threatening the retail store directly.
According the the FBI Press Release:
Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Mark F. Giuliano, FBI Atlanta Field Office, in an effort to provide an alert or warning to consumers, is providing the following details of an emerging scam that has been reported throughout the country and is now making an appearance in Georgia.
On September 12, 2013, 10 retail stores in Savannah, Georgia, each received telephonic bomb threats. In each case, the caller asked to speak to the store manager, demanding that 10 Green Dot MoneyPak cards each be activated and loaded with $500 and that the card numbers be read aloud over the phone. The caller threatened to blow up the stores if the managers did not comply and also threatened the store employees’ homes and families. The managers of all the stores described the caller as a male between 20 to 30 years of age and with a foreign accent. No manager complied with the demands, and no explosive devices were found.
Subsequent investigation has determined that these calls mirrored a number of similar telephonic threats made to various drug stores and retail outlets nationwide. One such call placed to a discount department store in Snellville, Georgia, was identified as an overseas Voiceover IP (VoIP) telephone number. To date, no explosive devices have been found anywhere in the country linked to this type of threat.
While the above incidents involved bomb threats, the types of threats vary. Green Dot MoneyPak cards are reloadable and available at most retail outlets throughout the country and, like money wire transfers, are just as untraceable. These cards are not associated with any bank, meaning that the money is in the card. Users of these Green Dot MoneyPak cards are reminded to never give anyone those numbers associated with those cards in that doing so gives them instant access to the money on those cards. [travelblawg’s emphasis]
Con someone out of a couple hundred dollars with a scam, you’re going to draw the attention of the local police and likely its financial crimes detective.
Attempt to con businesses out of
thousands of dollars anything via bomb threats, you’re going to get the FBI and other federal law enforcement involved too.
If you have any information regarding this type of emerging scam, contact your local police, FBI and file a complaint at www.IC3.gov (IC3 is a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C)).