In recent weeks, Fort Morgan Police have been contacted by numerous residents who were targeted for a scam. The intended victims received telephone calls from people claiming to be debt collectors and asking the unsuspecting targets to send money, “or else”.
The ruse used by the scammers varies, sometimes it’s a credit card bill, other times it’s a utility bill, or maybe money owed to the IRS. Whatever method used, the scammers threaten loss of services, someone showing up at their place of work, or being arrested. Sometimes the caller tells the victim they have won a prize or lottery and owe money for fees or taxes.
It used to be common for scammers to have the intended victim wire the money for payment of a debt, but lately Police are hearing stories of people being asked to send money using a pre-paid money card. One commonly used card is the “Green Dot Money Pak” cards sold at convenience stores and other places.
The benefit for criminals asking intended victims to use a pre-paid money card is they are able to drain the money from the card once they convince their victim to reveal the 14 digit code on the back of the card. Unlike wiring money, scammers can steal the money without showing up at an office to claim the funds.
In most of these scams, the intended victim is instructed to buy a pre-paid money card, load the amount of the fine or other money owed onto the card and then provide the number on the back of the card to the thieves, who will transfer the funds from the card. Once the victim reveals the code on the back of the card, the money is removed from the pre-paid account and is irretrievable.
To avoid becoming a victim, residents should treat pre-paid money cards as you would treat cash. Never give card number to someone you do not know. Refuse any request that asks you to buy a pre-paid money card and then share the number or receipt information.
If you believe you are the victim of a scam, call your local police. In Fort Morgan, Call 970-867-5678.