Update: 419 Scammers Are Targeting Your Grandparents
The Scams Progress
As I stood at the cash register at Walgreens today, I was asked personal identification information to be input into their computer system. I am registered with their rewards program, so they already had some of my information. I was at their store to use a reload Moneypak card for my Visa prepaid card to make a bill payment. I have had this card for a few years and know by experience that Greendot is reliable. The associate had let me know that she was going to need my ID and personal information in order to reload cash onto my card. I assured her that I thought that it was great because it had to mean that someone was taking a measure to create a screening process against the 419 scams. She confirmed that this was the intention of the registration. MoneyPak prepaid debit cards are bound to be preferred because they eliminate the personal appearance that is necessary through wire transfers such as Western Union.
She began to tell me about a customer that she had recently that had been scammed out of $15,000, draining her bank account, and beginning to take from her husband's. I was even more surprised when she told me that it all occurred because the woman had received a phone call that her grandson was in jail and needed to be bailed out. The scams are progressing because she received the phone call, meaning someone had her direct contact information, rather than her signing up for something or sending her contact through the web. Also, it came to her home phone, resulting in them not being able to trace the call. I couldn't help but wonder if this was stolen from her retirement account savings, and how sad that would be. The associate also told me that the scammers have even now began attempting to call places like Walgreens and try to reload cards. Astonished, but not brimming with shock; this echoes an epic fall approaching as they are becoming too bold, classic ending to over-reaching.
Should all financial institutions follow this registration proceedure?
Take That 419-ers!
On a slightly brighter note, her grandson was not in jail and Walgreens was able to recover $2,500 of the funds for her. While it may not be the full amount, it was refreshing to hear a corporation that was working to take care of the customers in such a huge way. Unfortunately, Walgreens is in the process of moving their business out of the US. Nevertheless, Walgreens was not alone in this, Greendot Bank and MoneyPak have stepped their screening registration up. I deeply hope that this is the beginning of a path that will portray an impacting example that other banks and financial service companies decide to follow. As explained in my previous article, the registration process could play a significant part in eliminating this channel for scammers to steal from citizens. The cheesy part of me cannot help but cheer, "Whoa! Go Visa!", I know, I know, but this is a small victory with potential for all those who have suffered at the actions and lies of these thieves. All I can do now is hope that somehow, we evolve to a place where we cannot be manipulated because of desperation, and these con artists get a redirection of principals and take accountability morally for the harm they cause. Go Visa!