Vanilla Reload Scams: How They Work
Watch out for several Vanilla Reload scams going around these days. Let’s take an in-depth look. Vanilla Reload is a convenient way to load funds to your prepaid cards or online accounts. Unfortunately, criminals found alternative ways to turn this into their advantage by victimizing people all over North America, usually through a fake Cash App payment.
There are five variations of the Vanilla Reload scam. Feel free to read, educate yourself, and make your family and friends aware of these scams by sharing them, using the buttons provided. Let’s take a closer look:
Vanilla Card Scheme 1: Offered Loan
Scammers impersonate loan companies willing to help you with cash. In order to get your loan, you are required to pay fees for transactions and insurance. The company will justify that by saying they want to ensure you are not a criminal trying to get the money and run.
Watch the video below to see in detail this Vanilla Card scheme and how the prepaid card scam variation 1 occurs. Keep in mind that it happens not only with Vanilla Reload cards but also with Green Dot MoneyPak cards, Ukash cards, or a fake Cash App payment.
Variation 2: Adding Credit To Your Card – Extra Zeroes
This variation itself has two ways to unfolding:
a. If you are an avid Twitter or Instagram user, you might notice tempting posts (or comments posted on purpose on celebrity pictures, so millions of people can see them) stating: “Real People Making Real Money Guaranteed” or “How I Will Make You Money Quick”. The scam is mostly aimed at people who are naive, need money, and actually click on the links provided to follow the instructions.
Scammers have their profile pictures typically full of images showing cash and promising to create the same wealth for you. A phone number is provided, as well as several fake testimonials from others who apparently benefited from their services.
As soon as those interested in “making money guaranteed” contact the ‘seller’, he instructs them to purchase a Vanilla Reload debit card, then adds money to it. The owner of the card has to scratch off the back, and give him the security PIN. By doing so, it gives him access to all the money on the card. Here is how he says he’ll make you money:
“I have specific computer software that I use. Once I access your Vanilla Reload account, and the time on the receipt when the card was purchased, I’m gonna simply add zeroes in the system. Once I add a zero to that amount, it’s going to turn hundreds into thousands. It’s going to cost you $50 per card” says the scammer.
In a nutshell, the crook admits to jailbreak the system, but the victims don’t mind, as long as they are promised to make money.
The issue is, once users give away the PIN on the back of the card, scammers wipe and steal the money linked to the card. Not only the victims lose all the money transferred to the card, but another $50 sent to the scammer beforehand.
b. The second way you can get scammed by this variation is when the criminal impersonates somebody working for Vanilla Reload or any other reloadable card (MoneyPak/Green Dot).
Variation 3: Awards, Lottery, Prizes
Scammers call hundreds of households per day with various fake offers, sweepstakes (e.g., PCH sweepstakes scam), and prizes (e.g., Instagram lottery) – and give the recipients the whole speech about “not needing a credit card or debit card to redeem it”. Typically, the Vanilla Reload scams require the ‘winner’ to pay only a small 5% of the whole amount, representing an ‘admin fee’.
“We only take Vanilla Reload cards, for the safety of our customers”, they might say. Relieved by the fact that they don’t need to provide personal info or bank account numbers, several victims give their card code for phony registration fees, fines, or any other redeemable prizes.
This variation could happen in many other ways. However, if you’ve fallen victim to one of these scams and are now financially unstable, see if you can make ends meet with salvage title car loans while you get back on your feet.
Variation 4: Purchasing Stuff on eBay, Craigslist, Gumtree
Whatever item scammers “sell” on these sites, they require the payments via Vanilla Reload, persuading the victims to load money into their card and then to send along the serial number.
If you do that, your card will be emptied almost instantaneously. Justifying this, scammers come up with a good reason for requesting the payment. “I just got my wallet stolen and had to cancel all my accounts, sorry for the inconvenience”.
Recommended Read: Deepfake Examples
Vanilla Card Scheme 5: TV Channels Upgrade
The scam involves calls to customers, offering every channel DirecTV offers for only $365, or a dollar a day, for a year. The customer is even offered a free preview of all the channels as “proof” that the caller is really from DirecTV. The victims, now with the proof they were looking for, agree to the terms of payment, which involves using Vanilla Reload to transfer the money to the “company” for the additional channels.
The caller tricks the victim into giving his DirecTV account information. Another accomplice in his gang then calls DirecTV and pretends to be the customer asking for an immediate upgrade to all channels. Therefore, when the customer wants proof, they are able to offer it by showing accessibility to all channels.
The scammers will tell the victim that they will be out in a few days to complete the upgrade. Of course, no one shows up.
How To Avoid The Vanilla Reload scam:
Internet software might be a beautiful thing, but don’t be naive. Money is not made that easy. You should never do illegal things anyway. On the other hand, you can’t win a lottery you never enter for. Always refuse to pay somebody you never have seen before with the Vanilla Reload card.
However, keep in mind that the same scam could be pulled by criminals not just asking you to use Vanilla Reload, but other reloadable cards as well, such as MoneyPak, Ukash, or Green Dot. Treat these cards like cash – you give it away, you won’t have it anymore.
How To Report The Vanilla Reload Scams
Make your family and friends aware of these Vanilla Reload scams by sharing it on social media using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:
How to protect yourself more:
If you want to be the first to find out the most notorious scams every week, feel free to subscribe to the Scam Detector newsletter here. You’ll receive periodical emails and we promise not to spam. Last but not least, use the Comments section below to expose other scammers.
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