Plenty of douchebags spend their every waking hour coming up with new ways to separate the rest of us from our hard-earned lucre. But few of their schemes are as creative as the one developed by the pseudonymous "Major Tom Wilson," who came up with a way to ostensibly trick random suckers into paying him for missing jury duty.
Given that, he probably thinks he deserves a compliment. But we'd rather name him our latest Schmuck of the Week -- and here's why.
On September 2 and 3, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, more than ten complaints came in from citizens who'd received calls from the aforementioned Major Wilson. He told those on the other end of the line that he was a member of the JCSO staff, and because they'd missed jury duty, they would be arrested.
Of course, there was one way to escape this fate. The Bad Major said that if victims headed to a nearby Walmart or Walgreens and purchased $500 in Green Dot MoneyPak cards, they could use them to pay a fine, thereby staving off a trip to jail.
By the way, the sheriff's office describes Green Dot MoneyPak cards in a release about the incidents as "reloadable debit cards, commonly available, which can be used to pay phone, cable, or credit card bills. They're typically for people who don't have bank accounts.
"Scammers like them because they're more convenient than a money wire, but just as untraceable," the department continues, and indeed, KPHO-TV in Phoenix recently broadcast a report warning about abuse of the cards. That video is below.
In the local cases, "Wilson" told those unlucky enough to take his call that once they purchased the cards, they were to scratch off the material covering numbers on the back, then provide the digits to him, thereby giving him access to the cash. And the JCSO reveals that one person, characterized as an at-risk adult, actually did so.
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"The Sheriff's Office will never call a citizen and ask for payment of any kind," the release stresses.
What a relief.
If you've gotten a call like this, you're encouraged to tell a Jeffco rep about it at 303-271-0211. And those who know Major Tom's identity can phone the sheriff's office tip line, 303-271-5612.
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Ground control to Major Tom.
Here's the aforementioned report about Green Dot MoneyPak cards.
More from our Schmuck of the Week archive: "Joyce Bradmon, schmuck, convicted for pulling pellet gun over kids using sidewalk chalk."