Scammers are at it again, this time with green dot cards: a pre-paid debit card available at stores. It can work like this:
Let’s say you run a small business. You’re out and about, then return to find an employee informing you that the electric company called about an unpaid bill. So you return the call. The person on the other end says you need to pay that electric bill of (fill in the blank) dollars. The stranger on the other end says you can get a green dot card from, say, Walmart, and that you can give that person the number within the next 20 minutes.
Otherwise, the electricity in your business will be shut off. Your business depends on electricity; you have customers; you don’t have time to really think about what just happened over the phone; so you hurry out to Walmart and get that green dot card, call the stranger back and give him the number.
You just got scammed!
There are more and more cases mounting like this, with the scammers tricking victims with an assortment of tall tales, convincing them to obtain the green dot cards. This scam is difficult to trace back to the thief.
Take time to reflect upon a situation before rushing out to do something that involves your money. No legitimate business like a utility company will ever request that you go out and get a prepaid card and then give them the card’s number, especially within the constraints of a very short time period. If it smells fishy, it IS fishy.
The scammers use stories to charge up the victim’s emotions, because they know that people don’t think logically when under the duress of emotions (e.g., fear of electricity shutting down in their shop).