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.
Thursday, May 23 2013 10:31 PM EDT2013-05-24 02:31:21 GMT
Breaking News: Saginaw and Michigan State Police on are the scene of a quadruple shooting in Saginaw. Investigators confirm four people were shot at a pre-prom gathering in the parking lot of the FlorenceMore >
Breaking News:A 17 year old girl was shot and killed and three others wounded at a pre-prom gathering in Saginaw. More >
Wednesday, May 22 2013 6:04 PM EDT2013-05-22 22:04:40 GMT
MISSOURI CITY, TX (KPRC/CNN) - When a pregnant teacher in Texas collapsed, her coworkers rushed to help. The woman technically died, gave birth, and then was brought back to life. Erica Nigrelli, an EnglishMore >
A pregnant woman's heart stopped, and doctors performed an emergency c-section to rescue the baby and save the woman.More >
Friday, May 24 2013 4:38 AM EDT2013-05-24 08:38:10 GMT
(RNN) - A bridge in Washington has collapsed and at least two cars are in the water, according to KING 5 TV out of Seattle. The bridge is part of Interstate 5. There is no word on injuries. Copyright 2013More >
A photo from the scene showed a man sitting on top of his car, which was partially submerged.More >
Thursday, May 23 2013 10:39 AM EDT2013-05-23 14:39:51 GMT
A two-car crash between Bridgeport and Frankenmuth has resulted in the closure of Junction Road. The crash happened around 1 p.m. on Wednesday on Junction, between Reimer and Dixie Highway. BridgeportMore >
A two-car crash between Bridgeport and Frankenmuth resulted in the deaths of two people on Junction Road Wednesday afternoon.More >
Thursday, May 23 2013 2:04 PM EDT2013-05-23 18:04:41 GMT
19 Action News Reporter Ed Gallek is reviewing the latest log kept by jail guards watching over Ariel Castro, and they include a couple of eye opening incidents. At one point, notes say that jailers hadMore >
19 Action News Reporter Ed Gallek is reviewing the latest log kept by jail guards watching over Ariel Castro, and they include a couple of eye opening incidents.More >
Thursday, May 23 2013 9:51 AM EDT2013-05-23 13:51:45 GMT
An update now to a story TV5 first broke last week. State police have identified a second person who died in a Friday crash. 16-year old Brandon Anderson of Byron died this afternoon. A 16-year oldMore >
State police have identified a second person who died in a Friday crash.More >
Thursday, May 23 2013 5:23 PM EDT2013-05-23 21:23:26 GMT
The parents of a one-year-old boy who drowned in a bathtub have been charged and arraigned in connection to his death. Callie Csercsa, 19, and her 29-year-old boyfriend Jeremy Wise, were both chargedMore >
The parents of a one-year-old boy who drowned in a bathtub have been charged and arraigned in connection to his death.More >
ObitMichigan.com is dedicated to delivering immediate, up-to-date information on obituaries 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to families and friends in Mid-Michigan. Death notices are displayed during theMore >
ObitMichigan.com is dedicated to delivering immediate, up-to-date information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to families and friends who have lost loved ones.More >
Thursday, May 23 2013 1:33 PM EDT2013-05-23 17:33:26 GMT
Remember the Kmart's "Ship My Pants" ad? Well Kmart isn't finished with their controversial ads. The company launched their latest video about Big Gas Savings on Thursday. It even features the sameMore >
The company launched their latest video about "big gas savings" on Thursday.More >
Thursday, May 23 2013 5:37 PM EDT2013-05-23 21:37:47 GMT
The Clare County Sheriff's department said they've arrested a man on a warrant for possession of child sexually abusive material and a Transient Merchant Act violation. Sheriff John Wilson said in a releaseMore >
The Clare County Sheriff's department said they've arrested a man on a warrant for possession of child sexually abusive material and a Transient Merchant Act violation.More >