The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

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April 26, 2013

Police warn of debit card scam

JOHNSTOWN — An Upper Yoder Township man was cheated out of at least $1,000 in a telephone scam involving prepaid debit cards, and authorities believe there could be more victims.

“There are probably a whole bunch of people who got contacted,” said Dean West, an officer with West Hills Regional Police Department.

Two area residents told police they received calls this week saying they had won a lottery or other prizes, West said.  

One man was instructed to buy a Green Dot MoneyPak card from a Lower Yoder Township pharmacy.  The man then called the telephone number he was given and punched in the numbers on the card, supposedly to pay for taxes on his prize.

“It was nothing more than a bank transfer,” West said.

The maximum amount of a Green Dot card is $500, so some people are buying multiple cards to pay taxes on a bogus prize, West said.  

The man told police he bought $2,500 in cards but was out only $1,000 because he realized it was a scam.

A scammer called a Johns­town senior on a fixed income and told her she had won a

prize from Publishers Clearing House. The woman tried to buy a Green Dot card from a pharmacy, but an alert clerk realized it was a scam, stopped the woman and then contacted police, West said.


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