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Police: "Green Dot Scam" making the rounds

By Sia Nyorkor
Published On: Jan 07 2014 05:30:54 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 07 2014 06:24:53 PM CST
(Wichita, Kan.) -

Wichita police say the criminals target businesses and homes.

As we first told you Monday night, someone claiming to be from a utility company calls about a late payment and threatens to shut off your heat.

The person calling is using the name "Alex White."

He then says their power will be cut off if they don't make a payment over the phone using a Green Dot card.

Eyewitness News stopped by two businesses scammed over the weekend.
The employees said they were too embarrassed to go on camera  because they fell for it. 

One woman said she sent the caller $800 through a Green Dot card because she believed the man was really going to turn her off her heat.  But another worker says he knew it was scam from the start.

Jacob Steele says the call came in right before the busy lunch hour at Bionic Burger.

He panicked, nervous about the heat being shut off on such a cold and busy day.

He says the man on the phone asked him to send in $700 to settle the bill. 

Instead Steele and his manager took down the man's 800 number and then called Westar to verify. They were surprised at what they learned.

"The balance was zero, we already paid it, so she called the 800 number and it said something like Disconnection Services," said Steele.

Wichita police say this scam is making the rounds. The callers take your account info and then transfer the money you authorized to a Green Dot card.

"Once it's loaded with money, that money is gone from the account, making it very difficult to trace. again, this is a fraud callers getting calls from utility companies need to verify," said Lieutenant Doug Nolte.

Steele didn't fall for it but others have over the last few days.  He says everyone needs to be on the lookout.

"My advice is, if anybody calls and wants to disconnect you, automatically, call someone else, call whatever place that they're saying. Verify it with them. Do not give them anything," he said.

Westar says it won't solicit money over the phone and doesn't use third-party cards to take payments.

If you get a call like this, call your utility provider to verify or just call police.

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