Scammers come up with all sorts of schemes to trick people out of their hard-earned money. Money transfer scams have been so prevalent that recently, Western Union came under investigation by the Federal Trade Commission for neglecting to protect their customers against scams. Western Union ended up agreeing to refund over $500 million back to their customers who fell victim to money transfer scams. Victims of the scam commonly thought:
- They won a prize or contest
- Owed taxes to the IRS
- Sent money to get family out of trouble
The next time you wire money, make sure you’re sending funds to someone you trust. If you’re unsure, use the following tips and tricks to spot a scammer eager to steal your money.
Weed Out Imposters
The internet can provide a great deal of example emails or scripts scammers use to trick people. Keep an eye out for suspicious emails claiming to come from government agencies, long lost family members, even churches and charities. Bad grammar and spelling, odd formatting, or a message directly asking for your Social Security number or bank information are qualities to look out for in these messages. If any emails you read have these qualities, avoid responding, report the email to the appropriate party, or trash the message. Also, look at the sender’s email. If possible, do a reverse search and check to see if the email is connected to any forums or reports of money scams. You can also type in the sender’s name or company name, followed by the keyword “scam”, and search for any links between the two. Consumers have been known to name and report scammers on public forums so use these to your advantage when researching a suspicious email or phone message.
Don’t Pay Upfront
While the sender may tempt you to hurry and send the money over, maybe to lock in your win or have the money act as a deposit for your prize, don’t fall for their scheme. Be suspicious of anyone who asks for money to receive a prize or employment. Remember to research the company contacting you to verify if other people have fallen for any of their scams. Consider as well how you’re being asked to make a payment. While credit cards protect well against fraud, wiring money Is one of the riskiest ways to transfer funds. In many cases, wired money that has been lost or stolen isn’t usually refunded. Keep this in mind before wiring any money, especially if you are wiring money overseas.
Are you a victim of a money transfer scam? Reach out to an experienced lawyer at Brandi Law Firm today. We’ll look over your information and offer legal guidance to advance your case forward.