Police warning public about “Green Dot” card phone scams following threats to area retailers

(Riverton, Wyo.) – In the wake of a threatening phone call made Monday to the Riverton Loan ‘N Jug store, Riverton Police Captain Eric Murphy said the public needs to be aware of a new telephone scam.

“People are called at home and in some instances the caller identifies themselves as being from the Internal Revenue Service. A threat is made of jail time if prompt payment of an overdue amount is not made,” he said. “People are asked to go to their grocery or convenience store, purchase a “Green Dot” prepaid card, load it with a certain amount of cash, and then give the caller the number of the card.” Murphy said that is a scam and he said, “Don’t do it.” He said the cards are being abused by the scammers.

One elderly Riverton resident was scammed out of $28,000, and part of the money was lost via “Green Dot” cards. A second Riverton resident reported he was taken for $947 yesterday in a similar scam, but was told he had won a Publisher’s Clearing House cash prize and had to pay taxes before the money would be released. He was told to purchase a “Green Dot” card and then reveal the card’s number. “As soon as you do, the money is removed from the account and is gone forever,” Murphy said.

“It’s the same story we’re hearing around the state,” Murphy said. Similar threats were made to a Loaf ‘N Jug, Home Depot and Family Dollar in Casper.

In the Riverton incident, a store clerk who was wise to the scam because Loaf ‘N Jug corporate had warned each of its stores about it, refused to let a customer buy a card when he said it was to pay an IRS penalty. When that information was related to the alleged IRS contact, the person became angry. A short time later a threat was made to the store by an unknown caller about a bomb that had been placed inside the store. No bomb was found.

In Casper, the three stores threatened there had much the same story. In the Casper case, however, A police report indicated the caller, who had a foreign accent, wanted the store manager to load up several cards with $500 each totaling $2,000 and then give them the card number. In each instance, the store managers refused, despite threats that bombs were in their stores ready to be detonated, or that a car bomb outside would be blown up. Casper Police searched all three businesses after they were evacuated, and found nothing. In the Casper instance, the caller was persistent and called numerous times.

The Casper phone calls were traced to a “Ymax Communications” in Florida, according to a police report. When police inquired about the calls, the officer was told to “get a subpeona.”

Murphy said the Riverton call was made on a prepaid phone that was not traceable.

A staff member at the Lander Loaf ‘N Jug store said they received a similar call Monday in which a caller became upset with the manager over a Green Dot card issue. No threat was made to the Lander store, however.