Commonwealth of Virginia
Office of the Attorney General
202 North Ninth Street
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Michael Kelly, Director of Communications
AG HERRING AND SHERIFF BARON WARN OF ACTIVE SCAM IN HAMPTON ROADS
~ Scammers purporting to sell DirecTV subscriptions are conning Hampton Roads residents into sending prepaid cards like GreenDot or MoneyPak ~
NORFOLK (March 9, 2018)-Attorney General Mark R. Herring and Norfolk Sheriff Joe Baron are warning Hampton Roads residents about an active scam in the area in which scammers purporting to sell DirecTV subscriptions are conning people, including area seniors, into sending prepaid cash cards purchased from convenience or drug stores, such as GreenDot or MoneyPak cards.
"Unfortunately we see this kind of scam all the time. The only thing that changes is the company or agency that's being impersonated," said Attorney General Herring. "The bad news is that sending these cards is the same as handing over cash and that makes it nearly impossible to recover money once it has changed hands. But the good news is that you can protect yourself and your hard-earned money by keeping your guard up and resisting pressure to send money in advance to people whose identity you can't confirm."
"Con artists have used this scam many times before. They pretend to be a member of a Sheriff's Office, scaring citizens into giving money over the phone to keep them from going to jail on a fictitious charge. Our best response is to create awareness, as soon as possible, every time the scam is reported to us. Please share this story with family, friends, and neighbors," Sheriff Joe Baron said. "It is especially important to stress that we must look out for our senior citizens, who unfortunately are too often the targets of these crimes."
The scam is a twist on a frequently seen con in which crooks use the names of well-known companies, utilities, government agencies, or law enforcement agencies to fraudulently solicit prepaid money cards from victims. Sometimes scammers will even use technology to "spoof" the phone number, email address, or website of legitimate organizations to hide their own identity and win your trust.
Just remember, no legitimate business or government agency will demand payment in the form of a prepaid card, gift card, or iTunes card.
Attorney General Herring has an investigator from his Consumer Protection Section housed in Sheriff Baron's office to allow for closer coordination between the two offices, easier investigation of scams and other consumer matters in Hampton Roads, and to ensure the OAG's Consumer Protection Section is responsive to the needs of Hampton Roads.
Virginians who have a question, concern, or complaint about a consumer matter should contact Attorney General Herring's Consumer Protection Section:
- By phone: (800) 552-9963
- By email:
- Online Complaint Form
- Online Contact Form
Since 2014, Attorney General Herring's Consumer Protection Section has recovered more than $240 million in relief for consumers and payments from violators. The Section has also transferred more than $28.6 million to the Commonwealth's General Fund. Following a major reorganization and enhancement in 2016, the OAG's Consumer Protection Section has been even more effective in fighting for the rights of Virginians.
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