Consumer Alert: pre-paid debit card scam - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Consumer Alert: pre-paid debit card scam

(Source: WOIO) (Source: WOIO)

More than 88 million Americans don’t have bank accounts. As a result, many rely on pre-paid debit cards to pay their bills.

One particular scam situation involves what’s called Reloadit. It’s a service that allows you to add money to your prepaid debit cards and pay bills.

One day after Karen Martin loaded $500 on to her pre-paid debit card using Reloadit, her money was gone.

"Matter of fact it said I was negative $3.05," said Martin.

Turns out Karen had logged on to the wrong website. In a statement, Reloadit says Karen’s money was stolen "via a fraudulent phishing website – cloned to look like the real Reloadit website."

The fake website has an "e" at the end of the name Reloadit and the web address did not begin with "https".

Noah Swartz is with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

"People unknowingly navigate to fakes sites via fraudulent email links or online search results, and then enter sensitive information, which the bad guys steal. To avoid them, you have to know what to look for," Swartz says, "Typically they have a lock icon."

Swartz recommends always looking for "https" at the beginning of a website.

The "s" indicates it is a secure site and you should never enter sensitive information without it.

For its part, Reloadit says it has been "aware of the criminals posing as (its) Reloadit brand and (it is) taking a number of proactive steps to protect consumers."

The bogus site that Karen logged on to has since been suspended and Reloadit did refund Karen her money.

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