When a 70-year-old Burke woman answered her phone this week, the caller told her she’d won 3.5 million dollars and a brand new Mercedes. But there was a catch. The woman was instructed to purchase Green Dot payment cards and provide the caller with the account numbers.
The woman purchased $13,000 of the Green Dot cards and provided the numbers to the caller, along with her social security number, date of birth and other private information as she was instructed.
By the time a caring relative discovered what had happened, the victim lost much of her money. Green Dot cards are pre-paid, loadable cards similar to other brands of credit and debit cards. Fairfax County police said these scams are not isolated to any particular financial institution.
"This is another in a series of scams Financial Crimes Unit detectives are seeing in Fairfax County and across the region. Unfortunately, as with many of these scams, once money is wired or sent away, there is very little that can be done to recover the funds," said Lucy Caldwell, spokesperson for the Fairfax County Police Department.
FCPD said detectives are actively providing education and information on some of these schemes and ruses to the public. To learn more, or to report an incident, visit the Financial Crime Online Reporting site of the FCPD website at http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/police/financialcrimes.
Since the online site went live in October 2011, more than 1,200 crimes have been reported, according to Caldwell. To request a group presentation on the topic of schemes or financial crimes contact Lucy Caldwell, Public Information Office at 703-246-3271.