National Consumers League

Personal Finance

NCL Personal Finance Issues

Tread carefully with money transfer services

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Money transfer services make it easy to wire cash quickly and conveniently to friends and relatives — but crooks may take advantage of these services to get money from their victims!

 

  • Scammers may ask for payment through money transfer services because it’s fast. Unlike checks and credit card payments, the money is often available within minutes. That means that a fraud victim may not be able to stop the payment before it’s received. Because the money is usually picked up in cash and in person, it can be difficult to recover.
  • Common scams to watch for are bogus sweepstakes and lotteries, false promises of credit cards and loans, fraudulent online auction sales, work-at-home and other money-making schemes, and offers to transfer foreigners’ “fortunes” to victims’ bank accounts.
  • Crooks also befriend people on dating service sites and in online chatrooms. They ask to “borrow” money for medical problems or other emergencies, or to come to the U.S. from another country. Once they get it, the “friendship” ends. People who lost a pet or other valuable item are sometimes contacted by criminals who, posing as good Samaritans, ask for money to ship it back.
  • One of the fastest growing frauds is the fake check scam. If you receive payment and are asked to send part of it to someone through a money transfer service, don’t do it.
  • New frauds emerge every day, but no matter what the pitch is, if someone you don’t know asks for payment through a money transfer service, don’t do it.