MoneyGram Launches Effort to Help Guard Against Common Holiday Scams
Don’t Let Scammers Steal Your Holiday Cheer – and Money
DALLAS -- December 04, 2012
MoneyGram (NYSE: MGI), a leading global money transfer company, is warning
consumers that scam artists are out to turn the season of giving into the
season of taking, by attempting to defraud people out of their hard-earned
money during the holiday season. That’s why the company has enlisted former
NYPD detective and noted anti-fraud expert Harry Houck to raise awareness and
help consumers protect themselves from becoming victims of scams typically on
the rise this time of the year.
“Fraudsters never take a holiday, so it’s important for consumers to be alert
to signs of possible fraud, to keep their shopping and charitable dollars out
of the hands of these criminals,” said Phyllis Skene-Stimac, senior vice
president and chief compliance officer of MoneyGram. “At MoneyGram, we want to
steal any opportunities the thieves may have to get their hands on consumers’
money through illegal methods, and help consumers learn their tricks before
they become victims.”
Former NYPD detective Houck added, “Three types of scams typically increase
during the holiday season, with scammers attempting to extract funds from
unsuspecting individuals hoping to earn extra money for holiday spending, give
money to charities, and shop for gifts online.” He offers insight into red
flags that consumers should watch for:
*Earning: Many people want to earn extra spending money for holiday
shopping, and may be tempted by offers to “work at home” or become a
“mystery shopper” for a product or retailer. The recipient may be asked to
send a wire transfer or money order for a start-up kit, or the recipient
receives a large check to cash – which turns out to be fraudulent – and is
instructed to spend some of the money and wire the rest back. Once the
consumer sends the money, there is no way to get it back.
*Giving: Legitimate charities increase their solicitations during the
holidays to take advantage of feelings of goodwill, but many scammers use
fake charities to try to steal money from well-meaning consumers. If a
charity isn’t well known or sounds like a scam, consumers should check it
out thoroughly before making a donation.
*Shopping: Products and deals advertised on the internet that seem “too
good to be true” probably are. Scammers entice consumers into believing
they’re getting a deal, and ask for advance payment through a money
transfer or money order. Consumers won’t receive the merchandise, and they
won’t get their money back.
According to Houck, consumers should never wire money to someone they don’t
know – ever. He advises consumers to keep their hard-earned dollars in their
own pockets by following the three Rs – recognize, react, and report.
*Recognize: Savvy consumers should look for red flags when someone asks
them to send money through a wire service or money order, because scammers
often request these methods knowing that once the money is sent, it cannot
*React: When they identify a scam, consumers should immediately put an end
to any transaction or conversation – hang up the phone, delete the email,
or end the back-and-forth messaging.
*Report: Report the suspected scam to the local police, and file reports
with the Federal Trade Commission, National Consumers League, and Internet
Crime Complaint Center (if the suspected fraud was online).
Consumers should call 1-800-MONEYGRAM (800-666-3947) if they believe MoneyGram
was used to wire money as a result of a scam. Since mid-2010, MoneyGram has
prevented millions of dollars in suspected fraud activity, put those dollars
back in the pockets of consumers, and kept the funds out of the hands of
As part of the company’s ongoing efforts to protect consumers from fraud,
MoneyGram recently launched an enhanced version of its fraud prevention
website – moneygrampreventfraud.com – where consumers can arm themselves with
information to prevent monetary losses.
About MoneyGram International
MoneyGram International, a leading money transfer company, enables consumers
who are not fully served by traditional financial institutions to meet their
financial needs. MoneyGram offers bill payment services in the United States
and Canada and money transfer services worldwide through a global network of
more than 293,000 agent locations – including retailers, international post
offices and financial institutions – in 197 countries and territories. To
learn more about money transfer or bill payment at an agent location or
online, please visit moneygram.com or connect with us on Facebook.
Mike Gutierrez/Sophia Stoller, 214-303-9923
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