Friday, November 7, 2014
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In This Issue
Fraud in the News
Reloadable Cash Card Scam Hits AgeOptions Staff Member's Family
Free FTC Materials for Your Site
Fraud in the News
The following are current news articles about health care and fraud issues.


 Health Care Fraud:


Consumer Fraud: 


Please share this Fraud Alert with colleagues, consumers, or other professionals in your area. If you have any questions about the Illinois SMP program, or to receive these Fraud Alerts directly, please contact Jason Echols, Healthcare Consumer Protection Coordinator at AgeOptions.


This document was supported in part by a grant (No. 90MP0163 & 90SP0061) from the Administration on Aging (AoA), Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Grantees carrying out projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Therefore, points of view or opinions do not necessarily represent official AoA, ACL, or DHHS policy. 


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Dear SMP Readers, 


This week's Fraud Alert contains a story about a scam using reloadable cash cards that affected the family of an AgeOptions employee and tips on how you can prevent this scam. This issue also has a link to order free FTC materials. 


Have a great weekend!

Reloadable Cash Card Scam Hits AgeOptions Staff Member's Family

Have you ever read about a scam and thought "This could never happen to me?" That is what AgeOptions Chief Operating Officer Diane Slezak thought before her sister-in-law was targeted by a Grandparents Scam and sent $7,000 to scammers using reloadable cash cards, like the MoneyPak card from GreenDot.


Now, Diane and her sister-in-law are trying to warn others of the dangers of this scam and of sending money to strangers with reloadable cash cards. They shared their story with NBC 5 Chicago's Lisa Parker in a recent investigative report, which you can see here:


Remember these tips to protect yourself from these scams:

  • Never send money to a stranger for any reason.
  • Talk to your family now before you get a call like this. Share this Fraud Alert story with your family or loved ones as a way to start the conversation. Come up with a plan so that if you ever get one of these calls, your family knows that you will call the parents of the grandchild and that you will not send money until you are able to verify who is calling you.
  • If you are targeted by this scam, talk to a friend or family member before you try to send money. Taking just a few moments to talk it out with a friend can help you see through this scam ("Why do they want me to only send money with these cards?") and save you money.
  • If you send money or give away personal information to a scammer, speak out. Report it immediately to your local police. Too many people are ashamed that they were "tricked." The truth is that scammers are just really, really good at getting people to do what they want. The best way to combat these scams is for people to speak out and pass along the information of what could happen.
  • If you act quickly, you may be able to recoup some of your money. Call the company you used to send money. Look for the company's phone number on the back of the card or receipt.


GreenDot's MoneyPak cards are a tool used to send money quickly. They are just a tool, but because they are relatively new and people are unfamiliar with them, scammers are using them to get people to send thousands of dollars. We have seen reloadable cash cards like this being used in a variety of scams, including the IRS Scam calls we have highlighted in past Fraud Alerts. You can buy these cards at several stores, and they look like a gift card (you can see them in the NBC5 video above). Once you buy a card and it has been activated, you scratch off the back to find a 14-digit unique number. You give this number to the person you are sending money to, and they can enter those numbers into the GreenDot website to transfer money into their account. It is just like sending cash or wiring money.


In another twist to the use of these cards in scams, the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) warns that there are fake websites claiming to be GreenDot customer service. Consumers are using Internet searches to find customer service and are instead finding and calling the phone number on these fake websites, thinking they will be speaking to GreenDot. Instead, they are calling a scammer and giving their MoneyPak number to a thief. The tip is to only call or visit the number or website listed on your GreenDot MoneyPak card. Read more here:


Remember that these scams can happen to anyone. If you get a call where someone asks you to send money using MoneyPak or other reloadable cash cards, it might be a scam. Talk to a family member to verify or think through the caller's story before sending any money.


Free FTC Materials for Your Site


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has several free consumer protection materials. Check out their blog post article to learn more about these free materials and how you can order them for yourself or for your site:

Remember that the FTC's Pass It On campaign is directly targeted to older adults: 

AgeOptions Ideogram


Jason B. Echols, MSW,
Health Care Consumer Protection Coordinator
1048 Lake Street, Suite 300
Oak Park, IL 60301
phone (708)383-0258 fax (708)524-0870


AgeOptions, the Area Agency on Aging of Suburban Cook County, is committed to improving the quality of life and maintaining the dignity of older adults and those who care about them - through leadership and support, community partnerships, comprehensive services, accurate information and powerful advocacy.

Fraud Alerts contain information about current scams taking place in Illinois, announcements and updates about programs or services related to health care and/or fraud protection, and links to news articles about health care and fraud topics. Please forward any recommendations or announcements that you would like to be included in a future Fraud Alert to