Scams of all kinds have historically involved the victim wiring cash to a stranger, but now that many consumers have gotten wise to this fact, scammers have found a new way for them to pay them.
They're called Green Dot MoneyPak cards. They're reloadable debit cards, available everywhere, and you can use them to pay your phone, cable, or credit card bill. They're typically for people who don't have, or want, bank accounts.
Scammers like them because they're more convenient than a money wire, but just as untraceable.
"My fear was that I was going to lose my job, and my home, and my car," Dean DeVirgilio said.
Even with his autism, DeVirgilio still tends to all his own affairs. Recently, he got a call from a debt collector who claimed DeVirgilio owed $1,300 on an old payday loan. The caller said, "pay it, or else."
"Threatened to send the sheriff to my workplace, send a warrant for my arrest, and have me in jail for three years for fraud," DeVirgilio said.
Federal law prohibits debt collectors from using intimidation, threats and harassment, and no one can be jailed over a debt. DeVirgilio should have realized then he was dealing with a scam artist and the debt wasn't real. Instead, he sent the scammer the money.
"I feel I'm never going to get that all back, that's hurting me right now financially," DeVirgilio said.
How the phone caller demanded payment is a growing trend. Dean was instructed to go to Walmart, load a Green Dot MoneyPak card with the cash, then scratch off the back and call with the number.
"I read off the number, he wrote the number down, and he collected that payment. 'And you had nothing left on the card after that?' Nothing left on the card after that," DeVirgilio said.
Green Dot MoneyPak cards are not linked to bank accounts - the money is on the card. Anyone you share your card number with, has instant access to your cash and can siphon the card dry.
"He stole every cent of my money," DeVirgilio said.
The Green Dot website warns customers about possible scams and reminds them to never give their card number to people they don't know. DeVirgilio hopes others will learn from his mistake.
"Do not give those people the number off the card," DeVirgilio said.
Even though Green Dot Money Pak cards are available in 50,000 locations, and scammers could send their victims anyplace, they tend to push them to Walmart. They want you to go to a place you know and trust so you feel comfortable buying the card.
Green Dot MoneyPak cards serve a purpose for some people. The cards aren't the problem, so remember if you use them, never share your number with a stranger.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 6:21 PM EDT2013-05-22 22:21:12 GMT
(RNN) - British officials are saying one man is dead and two others were injured in a possible terrorist attack in London on Wednesday.According to BBC News, eyewitnesses said man was attacked in a streetMore >
One man is dead after two men attacked him in broad daylight with knives and meat cleavers. More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 1:03 PM EDT2013-05-22 17:03:38 GMT
Tuesday afternoon proved a bit tricky as severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings were issued for portions of northern Connecticut, and according to the Channel 3 Early Warning Center, more storms areMore >
A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for the four northern counties until 10 p.m.More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 2:15 PM EDT2013-05-22 18:15:59 GMT
A Thomaston woman was arrested after police said cocaine was found in her 17-month-old son's system.Jaime Bennett, 31, said she brought her son to a local hospital after she noticed he wasn't acting likeMore >
A Thomaston woman was arrested after police said cocaine was found in her 17-month-old son's system.More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 12:51 PM EDT2013-05-22 16:51:37 GMT
Officials with the Connecticut Citizens' Defense League announced Wednesday that a lawsuit has been filed in U.S. District Court in Connecticut that will challenge the constitutionality of the new gunMore >
Officials with the Connecticut Citizens' Defense League announced Wednesday that a lawsuit has been filed in U.S. District Court in Connecticut that will challenge the constitutionality of the new gun laws in the state.More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 3:23 PM EDT2013-05-22 19:23:01 GMT
State police are searching for the person or people responsible who robbing a bank Wednesday afternoon and lead to officials placing a nearby school in lockdown.Officers were called to a bank robber atMore >
State police are searching for the person or people responsible for robbing a bank Wednesday afternoon, which led to officials placing a nearby school in lockdown.More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 5:24 PM EDT2013-05-22 21:24:27 GMT
A water main break in Middletown is expected to cause the major traffic problems Wednesday night. A water main break was reported on Newfield Street, according to Mayor Dan Drew."The heavy water flowingMore >
A water main break in Middletown caused major traffic problems during the evening rush hour commute Wednesday night.More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 3:59 PM EDT2013-05-22 19:59:54 GMT
A Cromwell man is accused of voyeurism after police said he posted an "intimate video" was posted to the Internet. Edward Taupier, 47, was arrested at his home Wednesday morning and charged with voyeurismMore >
A Cromwell man is accused of voyeurism after police said he posted an "intimate video" was posted to the internet.More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 4:07 PM EDT2013-05-22 20:07:18 GMT
A Simsbury man was arrested after he was accused of being in possession of child pornography.Christopher S. Lyons, 49, was arrested Wednesday and charged with first-degree possession of child pornography.More >
A Simsbury man was arrested after he was accused of being in possession of child pornography.More >
Tuesday, May 21 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-21 23:16:48 GMT
MOORE, OK - The Oklahoma County Sheriff's office tweeted a photo of a frightened, muddy dog Monday after the deadly EF-5 tornado ripped through the town.The comment accompanying the photo said, "scared,More >
A heartbreaking photo of a little dog guarding the body of his owner, who was killed in the Moore, OK, tornado, is going viral.More >