(WOIO) - give you easy access to money. That's why they've been used by thieves to steal thousands of dollars from consumers. But in an unprecedented move, the company behind those cards is taking a big step to help stop the fraud.
They were meant for legitimate uses, but those Green Dot MoneyPak cards became a golden ticket for crooks.
Unsuspecting people were duped into loading money on them, by claims they owed down payments on fake lottery winnings or back debts.
But the cards are like cash. Once you give up your P.I.N., your money is gone and there is no way to trace it.
Trista Townsend fell for it. Scammers duped her out of $150. They told her it was the fee for a $7,000 grant she'd won.
"They just really got me. I hate for anybody else to go through what I went through," she says.
But there's been of a victory of sorts for consumers. Crooks won't be able to steal this way much longer.
Green Dot, the company behind MoneyPak, pulled the P.I.N. cards from store shelves at the end of February. A big reason is because so many people were falling for the scams.
MoneyPaks were created to reload prepaid debit cards with cash, add money to PayPal accounts and make other payments. With the P.I.N. cards gone, consumers can no longer put cash on them online or over the phone. Now they can only
Consumer advocates warn while this will stop thieves from using MoneyPak cards, crooks are always working on the next trick to fool you.
A big way they target you is with those bogus phone calls. So the best thing to do is if you don't recognize the number, hang up.
"You wouldn't open the door to somebody that was knocking on your door. That if you looked out and recognized 'I don't know who they are so I'm not going to open the door.' Why would you pick up the phone and allow someone to come into your home that way?" says consumer advocate Monica Sheeler.