July 7, 2018

Stores help prevent scams through pre-paid cards by talking to customers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – From Green Dot pre-paid cards to gift cards, experts say they’re the perfect vehicles for scam artists to steal your money.

“It acts like cash,” said Lisa Smith with the Better Business Bureau of Middle Tennessee. “So, once it’s gone, it’s gone.”

“It’s untraceable, there’s no recourse,” Smith said. “If you use a gift card, it’s very, very hard to get your money back.”

Smith said most scams that come through her office involve pre-paid cards.

“It’s something we see multiple times a day, every day,” Smith said.

She said that some retailers are joining the fight to keep you from becoming the next victim.

“It’s something we’ve been recommending to banks and retailers for years,” Smith said.

Workers at stores like Kroger and other retailers are now talking with customers before they buy pre-paid cards, warning them of potential scams.

“Hey, what are you buying this card for?” Smith said as an example of the type of questions clerks are starting to ask.

“What payment are you making with this?”

Clarksville police said it saved one shopper who was told to buy Green Dot cards to send money to the IRS or go to jail.

The clerk warned the shopper that it was probably a scam, turns out, it was, according to police.

“Maybe you can stop someone from falling victim to one of these con artists,” she said.

Melissa Eads, a spokesperson for Kroger says customer service associates warn customers when it looks like they’re being scammed. She sent a statement to News 2 saying in part, “. . .It is usually when they have been asked to send a Western Union transfer, gift cards, or pre-paid card.”

Smith says most legit businesses will never ask for those forms of payment.

“Be smart,” Smith said. “Understand who you’re paying and ask questions.”