Protecting our customers is a priority at MoneyGram. It's our goal to educate consumers on ways to safeguard their money and personal information and avoid becoming a victim of consumer fraud.
Below is a list of known consumer scams. However, others may exist, so it's always safest to use common sense when sending money. The most important tip we can give is do not send money to someone you do not know.
In times of disaster, it's important to be aware of charity scams. There are many legitimate ways to provide support to help people impacted by floods, earthquakes, fires or other natural disasters. If you're eager to make a donation, give in a way that you have donated before or through a trusted organization or business where you fully understand how the funds are being collected and used.
It is important to never send funds using a wire transfer service like MoneyGram to someone you do not know. Occasionally, MoneyGram will support donation programs with a well established charity. Currently, MoneyGram is accepting cash donations for the American Red Cross using ExpressPayment® code 3825. This is a secure means of donating to the American Red Cross. There is no charge for the service..
The U.S. government recently issued a national warning about the continued defrauding of citizens taking place through a foreign lottery or sweepstakes scam. Be aware that if you receive a notice about winning a lottery, no matter how official it looks, and are required to pay a fee to claim your winnings - this is a scam.
What to be aware of:
• A federal statute prohibits mailing lottery tickets, advertisements, or payments to purchase tickets in a foreign lottery.
• Be leery if you do not remember entering a lottery or sweepstakes.
• Beware of lotteries or sweepstakes that charge a fee prior to delivering your prize.
• Be wary of demands to send additional money as a requirement to be eligible for future winnings.
Have you found a great vehicle online or in an advertisement with a price too good to be true? Are you being asked to send the down payment through a MoneyGram money transfer?
Unfortunately, it's a SCAM. Do not send money for the vehicle to the seller or a payments representative. The vehicle purchase scammer may try to convince you to pay through MoneyGram to avoid sales tax and get a great price. They may even send you a letter or e-mail of authentication telling you that you have purchased the item, but in order to deliver it you need to wire funds first. Do not send the money. It is a SCAM. You will not receive a car or truck. Once money is wired and received, it cannot be recovered and, unfortunately, you will be at loss for any money transferred.
Legitimate lottery or sweepstakes NEVER require people pay money up front. Get a letter, call, or e-mail saying you won something (money or a prize), but before you can collect the prize you need to send money to pay for taxes, customs, or any fees? But you didn't buy a ticket or enter a sweepstakes. This is a SCAM. Don't send transfer money to the people who are stating you have "WON" something but need to send them funds to collect your winnings.
Have you found something online that interests you - a puppy, a car, an apartment for rent or any item for sale? Does the price for the item seem to be too good to be true and are you being asked to pay for the item through a MoneyGram money transfer? Unfortunately, this is a SCAM. Do not send money for the item to the seller. They may even send you a letter or e-mail of authentication telling you that you have purchased the item but need to wire funds first. Do not send the money. It is a SCAM. You will receive no merchandise. Once money is wired and received it cannot be recovered and unfortunately you will be at loss for any money transferred.
Did you receive a phone call from a grandchild or a family member? Or a "lawyer" or "police officer" there with your family member? Are they in despair because they have been detained in Canada for not having a fishing license or for catching a protected species of fish? Have they been in a car accident? Are they asking for money to pay fines or for car repair? Did a relative call because they need money for a family member in medical need or for medicine? THIS IS A SCAM! Use precaution when sending money in any of these situations. These callers can request that you send money anywhere in the world. If you cannot verify with your family member (calling their number you had before this call, not the "new number" the caller gives you) that they are requesting money and aren't sure about the transaction, do not send the money. You will be at a loss for any money that is sent.
Did you receive an e-mail or letter about getting a loan? Were you asked to send money for loan fees, taxes, service fees, advance payments, or any other reason? This is a SCAM. Do not send money to a loan company to obtain a loan. If the money is wired and received it can not be recovered. You will be at a loss for the money you have sent.
Get a check or money order in the mail with instructions to first cash it at your bank and then send some of the funds to someone else through a MoneyGram money transfer? If so, the check/money order is counterfeit and your bank will make you cover the loss. Be aware that counterfeit checks are very hard to identify. You may have been promised a percentage of the check for employment or because of an over payment. This is a SCAM. Do not send the money and do not cash the check.
Did you meet someone through a personal ad, e-mail, chat room or an instant message? Did they ask you to send them money for travel or to help them financially? Do not wire the money - this is a SCAM. Any money received by this person cannot be recovered and you will be at loss for any money sent.
Have you found something for sale in the classifieds or any type of newspaper ad? Did they ask you to pay for the item through a MoneyGram money transfer? This is a SCAM. Do not use a money transfer to purchase an item from a stranger. It is not safe to use a money transfer service when trying to purchase an item
In our efforts to educate consumers about fraud, MoneyGram developed an educational website that contains information on common scams, tips on how to protect yourself from being scammed and fraud statistics. Visit the site.
If you are ever a victim of fraud we suggest you report it to your local law enforcement. Below is a list of other resources that may be helpful in your reporting of an incident or researching a potential fraudulent situation.
If you were a victim of fraud via the Internet, you should file a report with your local law enforcement along with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (ICCC). The ICCC is a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. You can make a report with the ICCC by going to the following link: http://www.ic3.gov/
If you were a victim of fraud and the funds were sent to Canada, you should make a report with your local law enforcement and contact Phonebusters. Phonebusters is a joint U.S. and Canadian police task force working together to reduce cross border fraud. You can reach Phonebusters at 1-888-495-8501. Or visit their website at www.phonebusters.com