Beware these types of money transfer scams
A report by wire fraud detection firm CertID shows $1.4 billion in wire fraud in 2022. What’s alarming about this is that instances of wire fraud jumped 145% over the previous year.
Risks of wire fraud have increased as a result of the shift towards digital payments, aggravated by the disruptions caused by Covid. Here are some of the more common types of money transfer scams that have surfaced in recent years.
Phishing: this is the fraudulent use of emails, purporting to come from reputable sources, to entice people to reveal personal information and – most especially – money. The emails will generally look legitimate and will suggest that you are the recipient of a cash refund or prie for which you have to supply your bank details.
Help, I’ve had an emergency and need cash: 60 Minutes recently did a segment on how sophisticated AI has become. It goes like this: you get a call from someone who sounds like a friend or family member (Deep Fakes can now do this with the help of AI) saying they have been in a car accident, or some other emergency, and need cash transferred to their bank account immediately. You can easily be fooled into believing that if you do not transfer money immediately, the friend/relative/associate is in serious danger. These are surprisingly common and effective.
Online dating: this happens a lot on social media sites like Facebook, where the con artist pretends to express romantic interest in the victim. They will say they want to send you a gift and need an address, but then they explain that you need to send shipping money (or some such story). Once you do that, they will come up with other complicated stories to get you to send more money. Don’t do it!
Investment scams: you come across a website (or get directed to it) with a deal that looks too good to be true. Investment returns of 5% or 10% a month are on offer (nothing is ever that good). You send money to the designated address (often in the form of crypto) and some are fairly sophisticated, showing you a dashboard with your fake returns clearly displayed. Once you try to withdraw, the scammers will ask for withdrawal fees or may even encourage you to invest more and upgrade your investment to a “premium-tier” bracket. The whole idea is to get you to pour more money into the scam.
You’re a winner! You get an email telling you about a fantastic prize you have just won. All you have to do is transfer money to an attached bank or crypto account to cover ”taxes”, “fees” or “transfer costs”. The scammer then takes your money and that’s the last you hear from him. There are many other types of money transfer scams. Be alert to the fact that scammers work on a numbers basis: the more people they contact, the higher their chances of pulling off a successful scam.
The lesson here is to only deal with reputable money transfer companies such as Moneytransfer.online (a division of FiveWest), which is among the cheapest in the market, with transactions completed within a day.