Have you ever received a strange email asking you to send money to someone in need? Or perhaps you’ve received a phone call regarding a monetary prize that you’ve won, but you need to provide some banking information first so the money can be wired to you?
In both of these examples, scammers are likely at play, so here are a few tips to help you avoid money transfer scams.
The bad news: scammers prefer money transfers
According to the FDIC, “Using a bank or a money transfer company to "wire" funds electronically is an easy and convenient way to send cash to someone. And when consumers wire money to people they know, the transaction typically takes place without a problem. But wiring money to strangers - in the U.S. but especially in another country - is risky because often they could be scam artists.”
No matter which company you choose to send your money, you could be vulnerable to con artists, if you send money to someone you’ve never met. Once the money is overseas, it can be very difficult to get a foreign government involved with your claim.
There’s typically no way that you can reverse a transaction once it’s been processed. That’s why scammers often prefer money transfers, because the money moves fast, and once it’s gone the chances of recovering it are slim.
The good news is: you can protect yourself and avoid money transfer scams
Follow a few simple guidelines to stay one-step ahead of the scammers.
Avoid sending money to someone you’ve never met in person.
If you feel you have to send money to someone you’ve never met, try to avoid sending large sums all at once.
Consider paying late. Scammers will often say you have to transfer by a certain date in order to take advantage of what they have offered you. If you don’t meet their deadline and they contact you again saying the deadline has been extended, you may be dealing with scammers.
Use a reputable and secure money transfer service. While most of the time your money transfer provider is not the problem, it’s always wise to choose a service who takes security seriously.
Common scams out there today:
Long lost love. Have you fallen for a beautiful person you met online who lives overseas? Does he/she need money for relocating, or a recent injury or illness? Be wary. The lure of love can be a strong pull, but scammers are preying on your compassion, integrity and generosity. Remember, it’s a profession for them. They are very good at it. Before wiring money, it’s worth the price of a plane ticket to see if your love is legit.
Quick money bait. Has someone you don’t know suggested that you invest in overseas business opportunities? Are they giving you a great deal on a product or offering a chance for you to work from home? Maybe you’ve won the lottery or an inheritance from overseas? Don’t believe it. The internet provides a level of anonymity that scammers love. Arrange to meet the parties involved in person, and if you can’t, it’s probably time to walk away.
Charitable giving. The sad reality is that scammers will do anything to get your money including pretending to be an orphanage overseas or some other cause. You may receive physical letters written by children, but it’s all part of the scam. As upsetting as it is, there’s no need to deny your charitable compassion--just do your due diligence to make sure the money is going where you think it’s going.
Choose a reliable money transfer provider
At OFX, we take security very seriously and our award-winning fraud prevention team employ some of the most sophisticated strategies in fraud deterrence and prevention.
We have a fraud system that takes a multi-layered approach to not only detecting, but also preventing, fraud. We can detect malware, fraudulent apps, and phishing scams that have been targeted at our customers.
Just remember, when it comes to money transfer scams, your best weapon is yourself. Stay informed, and if you’re not sure about the legitimacy of your transfer, you can call us 24/7 to speak to a fraud prevention-trained professional. Learn more about how OFX keeps you safe.