Iowans are being warned to steer clear of a new scam involving a familiar con. An elderly man in the western Iowa region was recently tricked out of several hundred dollars after a caller told him he’d won a big lottery jackpot.
Jim Hegarty, with the Better Business Bureau, says the man was told he first had to pick up a “Green Dot MoneyPak” card to claim his winnings.
Hegarty says, “They’re asking for the numbers off of the card and once you give them those numbers, they can go online and reload their cash cards and they’ve got your money.” The Green Dot MoneyPaks are basically debit cards that can be used for purchases or to add money to pre-paid cards.
The victim in this case was an 89-year-old man in Mitchell, South Dakota. Hegarty says people should be very wary if they’re told they’ve won a prize but have to pay a fee for it up-front.
“No legitimate lottery is ever going to ask you to pay in advance,” he says. “The bottom line is, if it involves wiring money through Western Union, if it involves loading up one of these Green Dot MoneyPaks, it’s absolutely a scam.” This scam is reportedly operating out of Jamaica.
Hegarty says the Better Business Bureau recently teamed up with Western Union to be on the lookout for possible scams of this sort.