MoneyGram Warns Consumers That Scammers Will Try to Steal Their Money Along With Their Hearts on Valentine’s Day

  MoneyGram Warns Consumers That Scammers Will Try to Steal Their Money Along
  With Their Hearts on Valentine’s Day

         How to Stop Scammers in Their Tracks on the Road to Romance

Business Wire

DALLAS -- January 22, 2013

MoneyGram (NYSE: MGI), a leading global money transfer company, is advising
romantics to practice tough love this Valentine’s Day, as a way to stop
scammers in their attempts to steal their money through romance scams.

Kim Garner, senior vice president of global security and investigations for
MoneyGram, explained that romance scams typically begin in an online
environment, with the scammer quickly professing love for the victim. After
winning the victim’s trust, the scammer will ask the victim to send money
through a wire transfer – claiming the need for a medical operation, some type
of emergency, or even for travel costs to finally meet the unsuspecting
victim. Once the victim wires the money, they never hear from the scammer
again, and there’s no way to get the money back. Or the requests for money may
escalate after the victim sends an initial amount.

According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the
FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center, consumers lost $50 million to
romance scams in 2011, with the average victim losing nearly $9,000.

Garner said consumers should pay attention to these warning signs on the road
to romance:

  *Wrong Way: Romance scammers typically are located overseas, and don’t have
    a command of the language local to the victim. When the online
    conversation is filled with spelling and grammatical errors, the victim
    should question who’s on the other end.
  *Slippery: Another early clue is when the scammer seems slippery about
    obvious inconsistencies, such as the profile photo not matching the
    alleged age or ethnicity of the individual on the other end of the online
    conversation.
  *One Way: Scammers like to control the situation, and typically will
    initiate any contact beyond the online dating site. When a scammer won’t
    provide his or her contact information or claims he or she doesn’t have a
    phone, that should raise a red flag.

  *Reduced Speed Ahead: Scammers like to move fast, and will profess their
    love quickly. If the “relationship” seems like it’s moving too fast, then
    the scammer’s attempted pay-off is probably around the next corner.
  *Hazardous Material: The end goal for a scammer is to steal money from the
    victim, so as soon as the topic of money comes up, end the “relationship.”

Garner said that even after a victim calls out the scam, there may be a “scam
after the scam,” when the scammer admits to the scam but then professes that
he really did fall in love. The scam then begins again, in an attempt to
extract money from the victim. “Don’t fall for a scam in the hopes of falling
in love,” Garner said. “Pay attention to the warning signs, and push back if
you suspect a scam. Listen to your instincts, and don’t be intimidated or shy.
And if the topic of money comes up, end the conversation immediately.”

According to Garner, consumers should never wire money to someone they don’t
know – ever. She 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
    be retrieved.
  *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
scammers.

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 – or Spanish website at
moneygramprevenciondefraude- 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.

Contact:

MoneyGram
Mike Gutierrez / Sophia Stoller, 214-303-9923
media@moneygram.com