That “blue card” scamAugust 23rd, 2012 by Chris Henry
We at the Kitsap Sun get frequent reports of scams. People — sadly most of them elderly — call all too frequently to ask why we don’t jump right on the Nigerian email scam, the Lottery scam, the stranded traveler scam and its sneaky relative, the grandchild in trouble scam.
Here’s one that the editor was unfamiliar with. I’ll call it the “blue card” scam. I learned about it while helping out reading police reports last week. According to a BPD report from Aug. 15, a city resident called to complain about repeated phone calls from someone the man had pegged as a scammer from the get-go. Caller ID indicated the originating location was Jamaica. The Bremerton resident could even hear chickens in the background.
The caller told the man he had won a monetary prize. At one time the prize was $2 million; another time it was $4 million. To claim the prize, he was advised to go to a local drug store and buy a “blue card.” The man was told to put amounts ranging from $150,000 to $400,000 on the card so the party offering the prize could “process the winnings.”
The man told the caller where to go and he tried to block calls, but they came anew from another number. The person calling said they would show up at the house to collect the card and deliver the money. The man was alarmed, because his address was listed in the phone book.
The man was curious, so he went to a Walgreens store and asked what the “blue card” was. He learned it is a prepaid credit card that can be used (among other purposes) “to help people build credit.” The clerk he spoke to said many elderly people were coming in to buy these cards so they could get their winnings. In each case, the clerk said, she advised the people that “this is a scam and not to buy the cards,” at least for that purpose.
The BPD officer who took the man’s report advised that he use caller ID to screen calls, and not answer any from numbers with which he is not familiar.
How have you dealt with callers you know (or at least sense) are scamming you?