by Shannon Royster
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A new scam in Middle Tennessee has been targeting users of a very popular reloadable prepaid card called a Green Dot MoneyPak.
Officers with the Brentwood Police Department have been working to stop a thief who reached out to at least five residents using the scam. This time, the caller threatened jail time for missing jury duty unless they could pay a fine.
"He asks the victim to obtain a MoneyPak card in the amount of $750," said Assistant Brentwood Police Chief Tommy Walsh.
The scam begins with a phone call asking you to buy a reloadable prepaid Green Dot MoneyPak card, found at most convenience stores. You can add money to it without a bank account and it's actually helping scam artists make a quick buck.
The two separate callers in this case claimed to be sergeants with the Williamson County Sheriff's Office, but Assistant Chief Walsh said the names were made up.
In Rutherford County the scammer was hoping to collect fines through MoneyPak from red light traffic cam offenders.
"Anytime someone is asking you to provide that kind of information to purchase a card to give them the number that's going to be a scam," said Walsh. "No legitimate business or agency of the government is going to do that."
A Franklin resident recently fell victim to one of the phone scams.
The scammer, who pretended to work for the electric company, told the victim her power would be cut off if she didn't fork over $300 using a MoneyPak card.
Officer Eric Johnson with the Franklin Police Department said it's all a trick to get you to give in.
"Middle Tennessee Electric never takes payment over the phone unless you initiate the call," he said.
The one thing the suspect needed was the pin number on the back of the card. Once the victim gave it to the female caller, she demanded more money and the victim gave in to pressure.
Officer Johnson has urged people to hang up.
"Look up the number either on the Internet their actual business website or in phone book, and then call them and ask them is this a legitimate situation," said Officer Johnson.
Fortunately, none of the residents in both Williamson and Rutherford counties fell for the scams. They just reported it to police. The suspect who did get away with $600 in Franklin is looking at a felony charge if captured.
Green Dot said to only use your MoneyPak number with businesses on their approved list. If anyone else asks for your MoneyPak information, it's probably a scam.