Sending money across the United States and abroad is incredibly easy, especially with all the new technology. Unfortunately, criminals have come up with scams to get people to initiate wire transfers to tap into your bank account. Avoid falling victim to these scams by reading about some of the most popular ways thieves try to steal through money transfers.
The Check Overpayment Scam
This scam pops up on websites like Craigslist where you can buy and sell between individuals without the use of a third party company—criminals often contact people who are selling items worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. They may state that they don’t live close, or they’re on vacation, so the item needs to be delivered to them. A check is sent for more than the price of the item (so you can pay for movers), with the intention of returning the amount you don’t use to the phony buyer by wire transfer. After a few days, the check bounces, and the bank will require you to pay for the full amount of the check.
The Emergency Scam
Facebook and many social media sites make it possible for you to connect with people all over the world. Some criminals take advantage of this by building trust and then eventually saying that they’ve run into some emergency, and need money quickly. This scam is incredibly common among both social media and online dating websites. You’ll find that if you send money once, someone will get deathly ill, and they’ll ask you to send more.
The Relative Scam
It’s now easier than ever to travel the world and thieves bank on the fact that you have a family member overseas. One day you may receive an email stating that a relative of yours has run out of money in a foreign country, and they need money as soon as possible—never trust anyone that sends you an email saying they’re a family member and need cash fast. Always check with others to be sure it isn’t a scam. It can take a little extra time, but it’s better than wiring money to a stranger who wants to take advantage of you.
The Buy Cheap Scam
Medications and other products can be really expensive, so if you find a great deal online you may be tempted to buy it. If you contact the seller and they state that they’ll send you the items once you’ve sent a wire transfer, it may be a scam. It’s hard to say no to a good deal, but if you can’t see the product and you’re not purchasing from a reputable site, you can never be too careful. You can’t get a refund on money you send using a wire transfer, which is why most criminals choose to use money transfers.
The Apartment Rental Scam
Getting the perfect place to rent at an affordable price can seem impossible. Scammers love to pique your interest for an apartment that looks beautiful and is within your price range—criminals often steal ads from other sites and repost them with their email. When you show interest, they’ll ask that you wire transfer an application fee or a deposit to lock down the apartment. You should never send money to someone you’ve never met in person.
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