Attorney General Scott Pruitt issued a warning Thursday for Oklahoma consumers who use Green Dot cards.
Green Dot “money pak” cards are pre-paid cards available at convenience stores and pharmacies. Consumers add money to the cards and use them to pay bills and add money to online accounts. Green Dot also produces pre-paid debit cards.
Scam artists are using both types of cards to get cash from victims. To perpetrate the fraud, scammers call victims and tell them their electricity will be disconnected if they don’t make a payment. They tell victims to buy a Green Dot “money pak” card and to place money on the card. Victims then provide the “money pak” pin number, allowing the scammers to transfer the money immediately from the Green Dot card to another account. Once transferred, the victim’s money is lost.
So far, at least three consumers of East Central Oklahoma Electric Cooperative in Okmulgee have been contacted with this scam. Consumers in other states also are reporting contact.
“This scam is spreading across the country and has hit Oklahoma,” Pruitt said. “Oklahoma utility consumers and others who use pre-paid cards need to be careful. Do not give your pin numbers or send pre-paid debit cards to anyone who contacts you over the telephone or online until you verify they are a legitimate service.”
The Attorney General’s Public Protection Unit provides the following tips to avoid fraud:
• Ask for the credentials and information from the company who is asking for payments;
• Be aware that “Green Dot” cards are pre-paid so they act as cash instead of credit, and they are much harder to get your money back once it has already been taken;
• Read the fraud alert on the back of the cards before use;
• Check your previous utility statements to see if your payment is due;
• Don’t take chances with your money; be sure that you have checked and verified everything before you make a payment.
To report suspected fraud or scams, contact the AG’s Public Protection Unit at (405) 521-2029, (918) 581-2885 or PublicProtection@oag.ok.gov as well as local law enforcement. For more information about tips and resources, go online to www.oag.ok.gov.