Fraud in Money Transfers

You’ve won a prize! I’m in a foreign country, and I need cash. We’re temporarily unable to accept credit cards. Your dream apartment is available immediately at an incredible price!

These are statements that get attention and often tempt the most reasonable, intelligent and trusting consumers into literally handing over their hard-earned dollars to complete strangers. Money transfer scams come in many forms, so it is vital to stay on top of the latest scams to steal your money. Some fraudulent attempts can tug at your heartstrings, entice you financially and intrigue your curiosity. However, often what seems to good to be true…is.

Protect yourself against consumer fraud by not falling victim to money-scamming schemes. Here is some information about money transfer scams:

Do:

  • Know who is contacting you to receive or send money.
  • Research to see if others have had experience similar to yours.
  • Be aware that sending money via wire transfer is like handing over cash. Once it is out
    of your hands, it is gone.
  • Use a credit card for online purchases, even if the seller requests a wire transfer.
  • Help educate others by reporting these incidents.

Don’t:

  • Wire money to someone you don’t know, including someone advertising an apartment
    or vacation rental, a potential employer or an online-only acquaintance.
  • Wire money to someone in crisis who claims to know you. Verify the identity and
    story through a direct source, such as a phone call.
  • Deposit a check from someone who tells you to send some of the money back to them.
    The check will bounce after the money is sent.
  • Send money to receive money.
  • Never give out your bank account or credit card numbers in response to an unsolicited call, text message or e-mail. This can allow thieves to transfer money from your account.

If you think you have been a victim of a fraudulent money transfer, report the claim to the money transfer company and ask that it be reversed. It is highly unlikely that the transaction will be refunded, but it is important to report these activities. Don’t forget to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint.

This article by Jeremy Marcus first appeared on Jeremy Marcus Finance and was distributed by the Personal Finance Syndication Network.