Norwalk police are warning consumers to beware of pre-paid money cards, specifically Green Dot money cards.
The reloadable debit cards are often used to pay phone, cable or credit card bills. They're typically for people who don't have, or want, bank cards.
"We have received a number of complaints in recent weeks concerning a scam involving Green Dot money cards. Unsuspecting businesses and individuals are being called by bogus companies under the premise that they owe money which much be paid immediately," police said in a release. "The companies are represented to be utilities and even the IRS."
The victims are told to purchase the Green Dot money cards and phone the company as soon as they have possession of the card.
The victims are asked to scratch off the area to reveal the pin code on the card, which the scammers use to immediately steal the money from the card electronically. Several people report losing thousands as a result.
"Individuals and businesses are cautioned that legitimate businesses and government agencies would not operate in this fashion and would not request immediate payment in this manner," police said. "Please use caution and report any suspicious calls to the police."
A similar scam has been reported in the New Britain area, particularly targeting Latinos.
Police said they received numerous complaints in the last month about a scam by callers speaking Spanish and identifying themselves as representatives of Connecticut Light & Power.
Callers falsely tell residents that the utility has detected excessive voltage being drawn from the target's home and it must be fixed immediately. The person being called is told to provide money immediately on a prepaid money card.
Callers are told that failure to do so will result in electricity being cut off.
Police advise anyone receiving such a call to hang up and notify CL&P.