I get asked about Money Wire Transfer Scams a lot. So, let’s examine how they go down and how we can avoid them.
Money transfers might be handy when you want to send money to somebody you know and trust, but they are NEVER a great idea when you are working with a stranger.
Scammers use many fancy schemes to steal your money, and a lot include money transfers using companies such as MoneyGram and Western Union. Scammers urge people to use money transfers so they can get their hands on the money before their prey even realizes they’ve been conned.
Money transfers are essentially the same as transferring cash – there are no safeguards for the sender. Usually, there is a fat chance of you reversing the transaction or even tracing the money.
Moreover, when you wire money, the receiver can obtain it at one of the countless locations. This makes it almost impossible to determine the receiver or track him/her down. In a few cases, the receiving agent working for the money transfer company might even be in partnership with the scammer!
Here are just a few money transfer scams to watch out for:
Bogus Check Scams
Somebody has sent you a check including instructions that tell you to deposit it into your bank and then wire a portion or all of the money back to them. The check is bogus, but it still looks authentic and may trick bank tellers. You might even get the cash prior to the bank finding out that it is, but it may take weeks for the bank to discover a bogus check.
Note: you are held accountable for the checks you’ve deposited, so if a check winds up being fraudulent, it’s your responsibility to pay back the bank any money you’ve withdrawn.
Here are some variations of the bogus check scam:
Sweepstakes and Lotteries
You just won a lottery from a foreign country! Woo! Hoo!
The letter you received says so and a cashier’s check came with it. All you’ve got to do is deposit the check into your bank and wire some money to pay for fees and taxes.
DO NOT DO IT!
The check is likely bogus and the money you send them is gone forever.
Somebody responds to one of your ads or posts and offers to pay for what you’re selling with a corporate check, personal check or cashier’s check.
At the last moment, the “buyer” (or his representative) comes up with a reason to make out the check for more than what you were asking for. S/he asks you to deposit the check into your bank and wire him/her back the difference.
DO NOT DO IT!!!!
The check is likely bogus. It may trick a bank teller at the beginning, but ultimately the check will bounce and you will have to pay the money back to the bank.
Mystery Shopping Scams
You’ve been hired as a mystery shopper to assess the customer service of a business.
They give you a check to deposit into your own personal bank account. Then, you’re instructed to withdraw the money and wire it to them via a particular money transfer service. Frequently, the instructions tell you to send the cash to a person in a different country outside of the United States.
DO NOT DO IT!!!!!
The check is likely bogus and the “mystery shopping” job too.
Here are some tips to avoid getting scammed…
Do NOT send money to a person who:
- you’ve never met
- claims they are a relative, and experiencing an emergency but want you to keep it a secret
- claims a money transfer is the only option as a means of payment
- requests you deposit a check and then wire a portion or all of the money back to them
Check out this video:
Other Types Of Money Transfer Scams
Family Emergency Scams
You receive an unforeseen phone call from somebody who claims to be a family member and needs money for an emergency ie. leave or get of jail from a foreign country or to fix a car. S/he pleads to have you wire money straightaway and to keep it a secret.
Prior to you sending the money, have a talk with your family. If you feel you can’t disregard the plea, try to confirm who the caller is by asking exclusive questions a stranger won’t be able to answer. And, keep trying to get in touch with your family to verify their story.
Rental Apartment Scams
A few scammers will copy legit real estate or rental listings, alter the contact information and place the bogus ads on other websites. While others dream up listings for places that don’t even exist or aren’t for rent at all and try to peak your interest by offering cheap rent.
If you answer these ads, the scammers require you to wire them the first month’s rent, a security deposit or an application fee.
It’s never a great idea to wire money to somebody you’ve never met for an apartment you haven’t even laid eyes on. If you can’t sign a lease before you pay, meet in person or even see the apartment – keep searching.
Advance Fee Loans
You might be tempted by websites and ads that guarantee credit cards or loans despite your credit history. However, frequently, when you apply for the credit card or loan, you discover you’re required to pay a fee in advance.
If you must wire money for the guarantee of a credit card or loan, you’re likely working with a scammer.
If you’re purchasing something online and the seller tells you that you have to wire the money to pay for it all your internal alarms should be going off. It’s a scam and you won’t receive the item or get a refund.
Tell the seller you’d like to use an escrow service, your credit card, or a different way to pay. If the seller won’t accept your request, then find a different seller.
Paying Money To A Telemarketer
According to the Telemarketing Sales Rule, it is illegal for a telemarketer to request payment with a cash-to-cash money transfer such as those from Western Union or MoneyGram.
If a telemarketer requests that you use this means of payment, s/he is breaking the law.
The Bottom Line
I hope I’ve made you aware of just how some of these money wire transfer scams go down. Sadly, there are many and more and more pop up every day.
If you have wired money to a scammer, call the money transfer company right away to file a complaint against them and report the fraud.
You can contact the complaint’s department at Western Union at 1-800-325-6000 or MoneyGram at 1-800-666-3947. Request to reverse the money transfer. It’s not likely to happen, but it’s vital to ask.
So, have you ever been a victim of one of the above scams? I’d love to hear from you. Sharing your story just may prevent someone else from being scammed. Please leave your comments below.
Before you go, I need to ask you a few very important questions …
Are you searching for a GENUINE Online Business Opportunity?
Are you tired of struggling online and want to once and for all succeed by receiving first rate, step-by-step training along with everything you could possibly need to succeed wrapped up in a complete package? …And, did I mention that it’s FREE? Yes, FREE!
Here’s to your success!