You can buy it at any Wal Mart, supermarket or corner drug store. A prepaid Green Dot card has quickly become a scammer’s tool of choice.
You can use it anywhere, even to pay bills.
“People use them in place of credit cards. Like if they don’t have good enough credit or they don’t want to go through the hassle of actually getting a credit card,” says Detective Laura Soulier with the Mobile County Sheriff’s Office.
But it can also be a con artists’ best friend.
“Because they’re so easy, because they’re so widely accepted, because they’re so widely available,” says Soulier.
And totally untraceable. Lori Myles works with the Sheriff’s Office and sees them used all the time in scams, most recently with their work release program.
“Somebody had called their office and said that they had been told to go and get a visa green dot card so that they could get their loved one out of jail,” says Myles.
The cards aren’t connected to a bank account. You buy one and put between $10 and $500 on it, then you scratch off a section of the back that reveals a set of numbers, or you get a PIN when you register your card online. It’s those numbers the scammer needs in order to access the money on the card.
“The minute you’ve given them the last number, that card is drained,” says Soulier.
Remember, no power company, debt collector, or anyone from the government will ever demand that you pay them over the phone with a green dot card.
“If anybody ever calls you and says you have to pay this bill or you have to pay this fee and it has to be done by Green dot, then it’s a scam,” says Soulier.
And there’s nothing wrong with getting a green dot card, the problem is not with the card. The problem is sharing that number on the back of the card or your pin number with somebody that you don’t know.