NEW BLOG: A poster on Fatwallet Finance just left a 9-5 finance job for a job as a traveling circus accountant. It’s an unusual career niche, and he’s started a blog about his adventures called Working for Peanuts, so why not check it out and give a new blogger some encouragement? And here’s the FWF thread that launched the whole thing, “Financial Considerations for Joining the Circus”, which is one of the better FWF titles.
REDEEM THANKYOU POINTS FOR AMAZON AT ONE CENT PER POINT: Speaking of Fatwallet, you may remember that Citibank recently devalued the Amazon redemption option in its ThankYou rewards program. But several posters in this thread have reported success redeeming their ThankYou Points for Amazon gift cards at the generous (by TYP standards) rate of one cent per point by picking up the phone and calling.
THE DARK SIDE OF PREPAID DEBIT CARDS: Prepaid debit cards are popular among people looking to earn miles or points, but in at least one case they’re also a form of prison currency:
One brand of cards — Green Dot — is so ubiquitous that it has become part of the lexicon on the inside. The recent federal indictment of two dozen inmates and corrections officers in an alleged Black Guerrilla Family corruption scandal at the Baltimore City Detention Center notes several instances in which suspects refer to “dots” in transactions.
…U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein said Green Dot cards have become the primary source of payment among gang members and other inmates in the city jail. Using a simple code number to make transactions makes the cards hard for authorities to detect, he said.
“Once a person has a Green Dot account number, people can add money to the account in many ways without anyone being able to trace it,” he said.
Green Dot Corp. is just one of many providers of this type of card, and there is no allegation that the company has done anything illegal.
The California-based company declined to comment for this article. Its website says millions of customers use its products to access banking services such as ATMs and online bill payment. The company collects identifying information about account holders, which according to court documents helped the FBI locate a suspect’s home in the BGF case.
Such cards, like phones and many other outside conveniences, are banned among inmates. No cash is allowed at the Baltimore jail.
According to court documents from the recent federal indictment, inmates would receive text messages on contraband phones containing 14-digit codes linked to Green Dot “MoneyPak” cards sold in stores.
No word on how many ThankYou points the inmates accumulated before Citibank shut them down.