FDIC Weekly Tip
If you receive an e-mail from someone claiming to be a friend or family member and asking you to wire money due to an emergency, be careful because it could be a scam. Check with other friends or family members to see if the story is true.
Scammers come up with all kinds of convincing stories to get your money. And many of them involve you wiring money through companies like Western Union and MoneyGram.
Why do scammers insist that people use money transfers? Because it’s like sending cash: the scammers get the money quickly, and you can’t get it back. Typically, there’s no way to reverse a transfer or trace the money, and money wired to another country can be picked up at multiple locations, so it’s just about impossible to identify or track someone down.
In some cases, agents of the money transfer company have been in on the fraud. In fact, the FTC found that between 2004 and 2008, agents of one wire transfer company helped fraudulent telemarketers and other con artists trick U.S. consumers into wiring more than $84 million within the United States and to Canada alone.
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