There is no shortage of online money transfer scams and plenty of people fall victim to them each and every year. In this post we’re going to take a look at some of the more common financial scams that you are likely to come across and give you some ideas about how to keep your money safe online.
Western Union Money Transfer Scams
Western Union is used by fraudsters on sites like Craigslist quite regularly. One very common approach looks like this:
1. The scammer will make an enquiry on a classified ad. The item may be big or small. They will advise the buyer that they are overseas at the moment but very much would like to purchase the item advertised and will prepay before they get back.
2. The purchaser will receive a cheque for the item – this will be more than the item was advertised for.
3. The fraudster will then contact the mark advising them that they have made a mistake with the payment and could they please forward the balance of funds via Western Union to them in whatever country they are in.
4. The cheque will prove to be stolen or will later be dishonoured by the bank – leaving the hapless mark out of pocket for the money they have sent. There are many variations on this particular scam but pretty much all of them will involve the purchaser receiving funds over and above the purchase price and being asked to send the funds on to some overseas location.
Phishing Email Scams
Phishing scams have been around for a very long time. One of the big issues with website security is that a company’s site can be really easy to replicate. In these scams you will get an (often very legitimate looking) email from a financial institution or online service provider which you do business with, such as your local bank.
Sometimes these will ask you for your credit card numbers in order to verify them, or sometimes they will ask you to go to a specific website (which again has the appearance of legitimacy) and enter your Internet banking details.
Both the email and the website that you are directed to are fake. Once the fraudster obtains your details they will either on-sell them or use them themselves in order to defraud you of money. The amounts obtained by these scams often run well into the thousands of dollars.
If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Online investment scams rely on the greed of their marks, often promising huge returns for minimal investments. The approach could be by email or by telephone and will invariably involve monthly returns far in excess of what the banks would offer on the same amount of money. Sometimes investors will even get these returns, for a period of time, before the scheme collapses on itself. These is done on purpose by scammers to build a false sense of security and lure people into ‘investing’ even larger sums.
Words to be wary of are ‘huge returns’ and ‘zero risk.’ It is important that you use common sense when evaluating any investment. The majority of these are classic Ponzi schemes and if you receive such contact it should be duly reported to the appropriate authorities in your country.
Avoiding Online Money Transfer Scams
OrbitRemit takes online fraud extremely seriously and we have put a number of safeguards in place to protect both senders and recipients from being defrauded.
The biggest difference between OrbitRemit and many other service providers is that we only accept and distribute funds that are transferred through the banking system as opposed to via services such as PayPal. This means that identifying information is required at both end of the transaction in compliance with international laws – fraudsters prefer to use anonymous services. Take a look at our OrbitRemit Support for more information on how the service works and what we have in place to protect our customers.