SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - A scam involving green dot cards, the re-loadable prepaid MasterCard or Visa cards, is on the rise.
The scam is larger than the state or local level scam we usually hear about. The scam has elevated to the federal level. The people behind the scam claim to be U.S. Marshals or Deputy Marshals and they are demanding money.
“They are calling people up saying they are deputy U.S. Marshal somebody and they have a federal warrant, or you failed to show up for jury duty, federal jury duty, and you have to pay a fine or they are going to come and arrest you," says United States Marshal David Lyons.
That’s what people are hearing when they get one of these calls. They tell the person to put money on a green dot card and meet them somewhere. Once the person is on the way to take the money, the scammer says they can’t make the meeting. They ask for the number on the card and cash the card in getting the money without even having to face you in person.
“If you get a call from someone representing themselves as U.S. Marshal or Deputy U.S. Marshal and wanting payment over the phone or wanting you to meet them with a green dot card, it’s a scam. Don’t fall for it,” says Lyons.
He says if you are needed for federal jury duty you will receive a legitimate summons and a follow-up letter in the mail. You will never be contacted and asked for money over the phone.
“The US Marshal Service does not call people up and demand payment over the phone. We don’t get into your personal business. We don’t want your social security number. We don’t want you to give us your credit card number or anything like that. We don’t operate that way nor does any other federal agency.”
Lyons says once this scam starts to fade out another one will take its place.
“I think they will come up with another one. If this one dries up and people don’t fall for it there will be something else take its place. These guys have nothing but time.”
If you get one of these calls, they are asking you report it at 1-800-225-5324 or their website. Click here to view their site.