Exposing how scammers use Western Union and MoneyGram for fraud
During the past couple of days E-Crime Expert presented several scam-methods: Charge back, Rental scam, PayPal scam. What those scams have in common beside they are a criminal act? The prefered methods of sending or receiving of funds are: Western Union or MoneyGram.
Wire transfers via Western Union and MoneyGram are ideal for this purpose. The wire transfer, if sent internationally, cannot be cancelled or reversed, and the person receiving the money cannot be tracked. Other similar non-cancellable forms of payment include postal money orders and cashier’s checks, but as wire transfer via Western Union or MoneyGram is the fastest method, it is the most common.
-these services are quick and – more importantly in scams – the recipient essentially remains anonymous.
-maybe in some countries the Western Union agents will require a picture ID when funds are picked up, but the criminals will not have any problems getting a fake ID. Once the money is picked up, no trace to who they are or where they live is available anymore. (In contrast when someone opens a bank account or requires a Bank card, if the address is fake, the card is never received by the criminal).
-with Western Union and Money Gram the scammer can give the sender any postal address he/she likes and they will still receive the cash.
- postal addresses does not have any importance in a Western Union and Money Gram transfer because the recipient walks into any agent office and picks up the funds.
-the money is not delivered to the scammer home address or to a bank account which is traceable.This gives total anonymity to the scammer and a risks-free transaction.
-it is cost-efficient for scammers as they do not have to invest in fake bank accounts or pay money to legitimated owners of bank account to receive money. They just pay the upfront fees for the wired transaction which in most cases it is paid by the person who wires the money (the victim).
-in some countries, the recipient can pick any agent office in a nominated city or the entire country. That is one reason why the enforcement authorities will not even try to monitor agent offices, because the money can be picked up in any location that has a Western Union or Money Gram office.
Tips to avoiding financial frauds
-never use Western Union money transfer or MoneyGram for sending money to any person who you do not know personally.
-the Internet and Western Union money transfer or MoneyGram do not mix. Any transaction that involves a person introduced via email or a website (online store, eBay, classified ads site, etc.) should not involve Western Union or Moneygram.
-these services are good for wiring cash to a family member who urgently needs it, but do not use it with strangers.
-if you have wired money and it hasn’t been picked up yet, call the wire transfer service to cancel the transaction. You will have to pay the wire transfer fee, but at least you won’t lose the cash you sent. Once the money has been picked up there is no way to get it back.
-any scheme that involves forwarding cash via Western Union or MoneyGram after one of the following: cashing a check (cheque) or money order; receiving cash in your bank account by bank wire transfer or receiving a PayPal payment, it is virtually guaranteed to be a scam.
-the payment to you will turn out to be fraudulent (stolen check, hacked online banking, etc.), but usually only after you have already forwarded the cash. It is you will then be left to pick up the financial and legal consequences.
-avoid any online store that sells mobile phones, computers and other electronics which wants to be paid by Western Union or MoneyGram.
-a central element of advance-fee fraud is that the transaction from the victim to the scammer must be untraceable and irreversible. Otherwise, the victim, once they become aware of the scam, can successfully retrieve their money and/or alert officials who can track the accounts used by the scammer.
Watch a very explanatory victim testimonial video here:
Money transfer scam. Credits and copyright: ComplaintsBoard
Any questions can be submitted to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Additional information can be found at: www.e-crimeexppert.com
Do you use this money transfer method? If you do, did the cashier check your ID when you received funds? What do you think about the “anonymity” of this method?
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