The U.S. Postal Inspection Service recently distributed thousands of checks totaling $46 million to people who lost money in scams that involved MoneyGram, a popular money transfer service.
According to law enforcement officials, from 2004 to 2009, MoneyGram turned a blind eye to scam artists and money launderers who used the company to commit fraud. During that time, tens of thousands of people in the U.S. lost money to a variety of money transfer scams, including fake lottery and prize scams, family emergency scams, and “guaranteed” loan scams.
How do these scams work? Generally, you get a call from someone who says:
- you won a prize but you have to pay “taxes” on it
- a friend is in trouble and needs your help
- you can get a loan — even if you have bad credit — but you have to pay a small fee first
Whatever the pitch, the caller’s only goal is to get your money — not to give you something in return.
MoneyGram also agreed to step up their anti-fraud programs. Nevertheless, scammers continue to add new twists to old schemes and pressure people into sending money. Using a money transfer service is like sending cash — once you send the money, it’s nearly impossible to trace it or get it back.
Watch this short video for more details: