Better Business Bureau issues scam warningThe Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota is warning consumers and businesses to be on alert for phone calls or visits from people going door to door trying to collect money fraudulently by claiming utility bills are overdue and must be paid with reloadable debit cards, such as Green Dot MoneyPak cards.
The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota is warning consumers and businesses to be on alert for phone calls or visits from people going door to door trying to collect money fraudulently by claiming utility bills are overdue and must be paid with reloadable debit cards, such as Green Dot MoneyPak cards.
The BBB reminds consumers and business owners not to be pressured into making payments on the spot and to contact their utility companies directly if the status of their account is called into question or if they suspect fraud.
“This is a particularly bold scam,” said Dana Badgerow, president and CEO of the BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota.
In this scam, unidentified individuals went door to door trying to fraudulently collect utility payments. People who have questions about the identity of individuals on their doorstep are urged to be cautious and to contact the police if they have concerns.
In recent years, scammers have been trying to capitalize on people’s unfamiliarity with reloadable debit cards such as Green Dot MoneyPak cards. Though these cards themselves are a legitimate means to transfer money, many people don’t realize that once they share the numbers on the back of these cards, anyone with that information can siphon funds from the cards almost instantaneously, the BBB said. In cases like this, any individual who followed the instructions given would find the card he or she had loaded with funds would be drained of value and the utility in question would still be owned money.
To avoid falling victim to this spreading scam, the BBB advises the following:
* While utility companies may contact customers whose accounts are overdue, they will usually first do so through the mail. They will not send representatives to your door to collect payments, nor will their phone representatives demand that payments be made via a reloadable debit card.
* If you have doubts about a caller’s identity or suspicions about the purpose of the call, hang up and contact your utility directly to verify any information received.
* Many utility companies offer payment options if your account is in arrears or if you need assistance. Visit their website or call them directly for more details.
* Contact the BBB with questions toll-free at 1-800-646-6222.