Editorial: The case of the con call

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 28, 2011

Scam artists are on the prowl this holiday season, and people would be wise to stay on alert like the Rowan County woman who shared this experience Monday.
She received a phone call from a man who said her name had been chosen in a drawing for $30,000 by Global Cash Awards. All she had to do to claim her prize was to buy a MoneyPak reloadable debit card at a local store and put $395 on it to pay for her prize.
The woman was wary from the start. She became even more suspicious when the caller asked how long it would take her to get to the store and proceeded to rush her.
During the course of the conversation, she got the callerís supposed name (Tony) and phone number and promised to return his call. Instead, she called the Better Business Bureau and confirmed that the call was a scam.
She did not call Tony back, but eventually he called her. When she said she knew his scheme was a scam, he told her to ěf— off, old lady,î and hung up.
Had she been less cautious, the woman would have bought the card with cash, given ěTonyî the card code and instantly have lost her $395 ó as many have done across the country. And she would never hear from ěTonyî again; the transaction would be completely untraceable. This has happened so frequently that North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem issued a warning about scams specifically involving Green Dot MoneyPak cards or other reloadable pre-paid cards. Scammers have switched to the MoneyPak cards because authorities have issued so many warnings about Western Union and MoneyGram scams.
As N.C. Attorney General Roy Cooper and many others have warned, ěnever pay money upfront to get a loan or win a lottery or sweepstakes.î When in doubt, call Cooperís Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM before entering into any transaction. You worked hard for your money. Donít let a lazy con artist trick you out of it.