Jayson Jacoby
The Baker City Herald

A phone and mail scam that has cost one Baker City resident $1,320 involves the purchase of Green Dot pre-paid debit cards.

Police Chief Wyn Lohner said a local resident bought three such cards - two worth $500, and one worth $320 - then gave the PIN number to the cards over the phone to the scammer.

That information allowed the person to get the money.

Lohner said he remembers a similar scam several years ago, but the prevalence today of pre-paid cards just makes people more vulnerable.

"You don't have to send a money order like you used to," he said.

The scam involves phone calls and mailings telling recipients they have won a large sum of money - $1 million, in some cases - and that they have to buy a Green Dot card in order to collect the prize.

Lohner said no legitimate company would require a winner to buy such a card, and to give the PIN number to someone over the phone.

At least one of the phone numbers involved with the scam is from Jamaica, Lohner said, the origin of many other scams.

"It's a reminder to people to be extra cautious," he said.

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