Green Dot Corp. is changing the way money can be loaded onto its popular prepaid debit card. It’s phasing out the MoneyPak PIN — which allows these transactions to take place online or over the phone — and switching to a “swipe at the register” method that requires the cardholder to be present. Because they were so widely available and easy to use, MoneyPaks had become a favorite way for scammers to steal their victims’ money. Green Dot told NBC News that phasing out the MoneyPak will “eliminate the opportunity for con artists to use it to conduct confidence scams against seniors and other vulnerable populations.” John Breyault, who runs the Fraud.org website, applauded the move, but cautioned that “people need to remain vigilant” because scammers soon will find another way to get their money. The MoneyPak has already been removed from Wal-Mart and many other retail stores. It should be completely gone by early next year. This week, Green Dot told the U.S. Senate Committee on Aging that the vast majority of reloads are now done using the swipe method.
-Herb Weisbaum, NBC News contributor