Action 9 investigates loan scheme involving Green Dot money card



ORLANDO, Fla. - An Orlando woman claims she was cheated out of hundreds of dollars after being approved for an online loan.

The company wanted Ella Hall to pay loan fees first using a Green Dot money card, but Action 9's Todd Ulrich found how prepaid debit cards are fueling some sophisticated new loan schemes.

Hall said she needed cash for car repairs and tuition, so she applied online to a company that appeared to be Ameriloan.

Hall said she got a call 24 hours later.

"They said I was preapproved for a $5,000 loan, and I just had to send them $50," Hall said.

Hall was told that fee covered application and transfer fees, and she needed to pay with a Green Dot MoneyPak, so she did that day.

"I feel like I got scammed," Hall said.

The Green Dot is a prepaid debit card widely available at many chain retail stores, and it's a scammer's favorite way to collect cash.

Anyone can buy the card and load it with money right at the store. Then, all the thieves need is the access code on the back to electronically transfer the money, and nothing can be traced.

Hall's loan never arrived.

According to the Better Business Bureau, scammers use similar loan websites to rip off consumers all over the country.

"Five-hundred dollars to me is a lot of money, and they took it," Hall said.

In fact, the people who took the money kept calling Hall back for more.

When Action 9 called the number back, someone on the other end said they were from the Secret Service.

"What is the name of the company?" asked Action 9's Todd Ulrich.

"It's not a company, it's the legal department," the person responded.

"A legal department for who?" Ulrich asked.

"U.S. Secret Service," the person responded.

When Ulrich challenged that the man was not with the Secret Service, he turned the tables.

"You are the criminal person, and you are taking part with the criminal lady," the man said. "You are both criminals."

"Can you give her the $500 back?" Ulrich asked.

"You need to stop calling me," the man responded.

In the meantime, Hall filed a police report.

"I'm scared that my identity will be stolen," she said.

Those who took Hall's money had nothing to do with Ameriloan, which is a real company.

Green Dot has added a fraud warning to its debit cards.