Vulnerable Kiwis are losing millions of dollars each year to various scams, and unfortunately, sometimes people try to use the MoneyGram money transfer service as part of those scams, by telling fake stories that try to get you to send them money.
Thankfully, there are ways you can protect yourself from becoming one of the scammed. But before then, let’s take a stroll through the weird and woeful ways that people have used MoneyGram to scam people online.
Online Purchase Scams
You can’t believe it, you found your dream car at a terrific price! And the only thing the seller needs is a deposit to be paid by money transfer before they drive the car over from interstate. Cha-ching!
They might be legit, but this is also one of the most common scams you’ll find on MoneyGram. You’ll end up sending the cash, but that dream car never turns up in your driveway.
Online Dating Scams
Where emotion is involved, there are scammers. It makes sense – we’re prone to getting swept up in the moment, and letting our logical guard down.
There’s no need to ditch online dating, but you should watch out for:
- When they ask you to send them money, perhaps so they can travel to meet you
- When they (WAY too quickly) profess their love for you (it’s not that they don’t love you, it’s just an effective way to get people to let their guard down)
- The people whose webcam mysteriously never seems to be working, so you’ve never seen anything other than their profile picture.
“Congratulations! You have won $5 million in the Facebook Lottery!”
This isn’t the most complex scam you’ll see, but it still accounts for all too much heartbreak in New Zealand. But, let’s just run through the problems with this one:
- There is no such thing as the ‘Facebook Lottery’
- You didn’t buy a ticket
- Real lotteries don’t require a payment or money transfer for you to claim your prize.
This is the sort of scam that targets your email, but most spam filters these days will catch them before they arrive.
'Person in Need' Scam
This one takes a few different forms and styles, so we had to give it a slightly generic name. But the common ground is always that someone is in trouble, and you need to help.
t might be that a family member of yours is in legal trouble. Or maybe they’re claiming they’re the tax office, telling you you’re minutes away from being arrested unless you pay your debts. And in perhaps the worst circumstances, someone will claim they’re collecting for a charity or disaster relief.
But thankfully, there are easy steps to avoid all of these:
- No matter who they say they are, don’t trust them – go and contact the real version of who they say they are (your bank, the Tax Office, whoever it might be)
- If they contact you via phone, politely say you’ll call them back at their official phone number
- If they make contact online, ignore their messages, and make contact with their official support services.
How do I ensure I never get scammed?
At Travel Money Nz, our FXperts are trained in what to look out for and how to identify scams. So when they’re processing your money transfer, they may ask a few sneaky questions about the payment – like who it’s for. They may seem a little nosy, but they’re just trying to protect you.
Here are some things you can do to (hopefully) avoid most scams:
- If it’s “too good to be true” expect that it probably is
- Never send money to someone you’ve never met
- Never send money to receive a prize, or money from someone else
- Keep your bank and transaction information completely confidential
- If you think you’ve made a payment to a scammer through MoneyGram, call them immediately on 1800 049 087 and have the transfer stopped.
Sadly, there are definitely more scamming fish in this dangerous sea. And if you do encounter a scam, you can report it to both MoneyGram and Netsafe. But with the right foresight and security measures, you can buy and date online without a worry in the world!
If you need to make a MoneyGram transfer, find your nearest Travel Money Nz store, and give your cash the best chance of making it safely to the right people.
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