Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

June 7, 2013

Scam artists targeting local residents with ‘Money Pak’ scheme

JACKSONVILLE — Area residents are asked to be aware of an out-of-state caller asking them provide payment through a Money Pak card to either pay advanced fees on a loan or claim a cash prize.

“We do see this reoccur from time to time, where people are asked to use a Money Pak card – which is a one-time load card” to send money to the caller, said Kaylen Burgess, communications assistant for the Better Business Bureau Serving Central East Texas. “And when they convince people to use them, (the scam artist) starts making more calls. More or less, they're fishing (for a response).”

A Rusk resident who has been receiving phone calls from an unknown individual said Wednesday that she has been bombarded all week by a man who said he was calling from Las Vegas, asking that she to go to CVS to “buy a gift card … but I can't understand what he's saying” what he wants it for.

“I've told them to send me a letter, but he still keeps calling,” said the woman, who requested anonymity. “There's no number that pops up, either (on her phone).”

Because the calls have become increasingly insistent in nature, she said tried different ways to kill the conversation, including saying that she would contact a relative in law enforcement, then that she would ask another relative to help get the man what he needed.

“And he said, 'We do this privately  … don't tell anyone,'” she recalled.

While her innovative stories meant she wasn't buying into his stories, others aren't so fortunate, Burgess said.

“Oftentimes (a scam artist) will target seniors whom might have a disposable income” or who is vulnerable to such pleas, she said. “Some people fall victim to people over the phone, unfortunately.”

To safeguard themselves in that kind of situation, Burgess recommended to never give out personal information over the phone and to “always do your homework” before giving information – or money – to someone.

“And if you have caller ID, you can avoid these calls once you recognize the phone number,” she said, adding that reporting such incidents to the BBB – by calling 903-581-5704 or visiting the website, www.bbb.org – can alert others to such scams.

“We do get people who ask about the legitimacy of these calls, and we are able to tell them what we know, about what other people have reported to us, and that more often or not, those calls are scams,” Burgess said.

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