Thousands of money transfers happen every day. However, sometimes the recipient isn’t a trusted friend or family. It could also be a scammer. According to the Federal Trade Commission, there were over 3 million money transfer scams in 2018 alone.
While money transfers can help you rescue people financially, they have also become a hot spot for theft and fraud. Money transfer scams are common because the process works fast. By the time you understand the scam, it’s too late to recover the money.
To help you steer clear of risks, keep reading to familiarize yourself with the most common money transfer scams.
Scammers scan through various classified ads on the internet and newspapers and get in touch with you as interested buyers. In most cases, they do not bargain and send you a check for more than the asking price.
Then they ask you to wire the extra amount to a third-party account. It is only after you transfer the money you realize that you put a fake check in your bank. In 2018, Americans lost $3.7 million to fake check scams.
How to avoid the scam:
Cheaters advertise high-end items such as cars, designer products and imported goods at attractive prices online. Upon enquiring, you may find the offer authentic. However, they will ask you to wire transfer the money in advance.
They would mitigate any other payment options and confirm your order only upon receipt of the payment. However, after the payment is done, you are blocked. These shop-at-home scams caused a total loss of $2.1 million in 2018.
You may think you have hit the jackpot, but this could be yet another trap. A mystery prize is not always a pleasant surprise, especially if it comes with an exorbitant processing fee and random taxes.
These scammers may reach out via a phone call or a mail. Most of the calls have a foreign country code. If the email or the letter you have received has way too many typos, be assured it wasn’t written by a professional or legal authority.
A frantic phone call, social media message, or email where a relative requests financial help by wire transfer is another common scam trick. They might tell you that they are sick or have been arrested in a foreign country. In 2017, Americans lost $328 million to such scams whereby swindlers tricked them by pretending to be a loved one in trouble.
Without considering your credit history, scammers offer loans and credit cards with significant benefits. There is only one condition they put forth: you must wire transfer the loan processing fee. This scam is perhaps the most dangerous of them all because they will not stop at looting your money once. They pose a future threat given they have your bank account details.
Luxury brands often hire secret shoppers and give them products to review. Scammers try and replicate the format but in fake mystery shopping jobs where you would be required to pay a registration fee through a bogus webpage via money transfer. Later they may even ask you to pay for the products from your own account.
A Nigerian royal family member is in great distress and needs YOUR help. Over the past three years, Nigerian letter-style scams have cost victims an average of $2,133.
You have initiated a transfer to send money back at home. However, you receive a call from “your bank” or “the wire transfer provider”, and they need your MTCN to confirm the transaction. The Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) is a unique code assigned to every transaction that occurs. If a scammer gets ahold of the MTCN, they could hijack the loop and steal the cash.
Transferring money is normally a quick and reliable operation, just make sure you never wire transfer any money to strangers. If you anything about a process doesn’t feel quite right, stop and do your research.
Whether going online for more information or talking to an expert, take the steps to thwart an enterprising scammer trying to part you from your hard-earned money.
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