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St. Charles Police Investigate Pre-Paid Card Scams

Similar incidents involving fraudsters trying to use Green Dot cards to swindle people have been reported by police in Aurora, Oswego and Joliet.

The St. Charles Police Department received two reports last week from residents who said they were contacted by the IRS and ordered to pay thousands of dollars or lose their homes.

In the first instance, the person received a call on June 26 and was told he owed $5,000 and that if he didn't pay in the next 45 minutes, he would could face arrest be evicted from his home. 

He was directed to go to a CVS Pharmacy to load the owed amount onto Green Dot MoneyPacks. The resident obliged but was told the purchased cards did not work and he would need to buy more cards. 

Similar scams involving Green Dot cards have been reported in Oswego, Aurora and Joliet in recent months.

Green Dot Money Pak cards work as “cash top-up cards” and are used the same as cash. They are used to reload other pre-paid cards, adding money to PayPal accounts without using a bank account, and to make same-day payments to major companies. Green Dot warns its customers to never give out card numbers to anyone they don’t know or trust.

In another incident in St. Charles, a resident was contacted on June 27 and was told she owed the IRS nearly $6,000. 

The resident was directed to the Meijer Store in St. Charles to purchase 10 Reloadit Cards with $500 loaded on each card. After completing the transaction, the offender told the resident to go to a CVS Pharmacy to purchase more cards. Contact with the offender was halted at that point.

Both St. Charles phone calls came from area code 202, which covers Washington, D.C. 

In the second case the offender was able to, “Spoof” both the IRS phone number in Washington, D.C. and the St. Charles Police Department’s main phone number to make it look on Caller ID as if the calls were legitimate. Also in the second case, the offender identified herself as an officer with the St. Charles Police Department.

This scam has been seen across the country for at least a couple years, but incidents seem to have spiked within the last year. 

Those who make the calls are reported to be extremely rude, threatening and demanding. 

Police said residents should be aware that the IRS, or any other Government entity, does not operate in this manner. Some type of mail correspondence would be sent rather than a phone call. Receiving this type of call should be an immediate red flag. 

Residents should also ask themselves the following:

  • Why would the government want payment on a Green Dot card versus a personal check? 
  • Have you heard from an accountant or family member that you may owe money?
  • Would a local police department become involved in personal finances?

Residents should not allow themselves to be bullied by these offenders, and should hang up on them immediately. 

If there ever is a question as to the legitimacy of a Government phone call, contact should be made by the resident to that agency, or contact the St. Charles Police Department for assistance. 

If you feel you have been a victim of this scam please contact the SCPD to make a report. The IRS does track these reports and is actively working these fraud cases. 

Stefano Laterza July 05, 2014 at 08:25 AM
People are still falling for the Banana in the tail pipe trick, huh? Don't you think you would know 100% if you owed the IRS or another entity that much money? While access to the internet can help aid the enemy in defrauding the public, the same internet can be used as a tool to defend it. Here's a funny story: After Nigeria was eliminated from the world cup, the Nigerian captain personally offered to refund all the expenses of fans that traveled to Brazil. He said he only needs their bank details and PIN numbers to complete the transaction.

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