The PPP cards, as they are commonly called, are available in increments of $5 to $50 and work much like prepaid long-distance phone cards. Each card contains a user number that buyers can use to anonymously log onto adult websites.
The Daily News enlisted the services of two teenage boys to visit six vendors and attempt to purchase the cards, which are clearly printed with an 18-and-over warning.
Tom Segell, 16, the son of a Daily News editor, and his friend Graham Golden, 15, succeeded in buying the cards from three of the vendors, the Daily News reported.
“You’re minors, right?” asked one shopkeeper when the teens asked for a card granting them 14 days of access to an adults-only site. Even after the boys confirmed that they were, in fact, underage, the clerk took their $10 and handed over the card.
Another shopkeeper initially refused to sell the duo a card, but after some cajoling from the teens, he arranged for another customer to buy the card for them.
At one newsstand, the pair actually used their age to play on the clerk’s sympathies. “Come on, we’re 16-year-old boys!” they told him. The ploy worked — they walked away with a $20 card good for a month of hardcore porn.
PPP cards were intended to address common concerns of visitors to adult websites by eliminating the need to enter a credit card number to gain access. Because the cards are purchased with cash and the card number is the only identification a user needs, the cards reduce the risk of identity theft and help users avoid uncomfortable questions from spouses regarding credit card charges.
Entrepreneur Greg Moss owns the exclusive U.S. rights to distribute the cards, which are issued by a Canadian company.
Moss said he was surprised when the Daily News told him of their findings, but pointed out that his company requires vendors to sign a contract stating that they will not sell the cards to minors.
“If we find someone is selling to [kids under] 18, we will immediately pull the cards,” Moss said. “We’re going to take all precautions.”
Moss plans a full-scale roll out of the cards over the next few months, expanding into New Jersey, Miami and Atlanta.