MoneyGram Warns of Potential Charity Scams Following Boston Marathon
DALLAS -- April 17, 2013
MoneyGram (NYSE: MGI), a leading global money transfer company, is warning
consumers not to let scammers profit from tragedy by luring them to donate to
fraudulent non-profit organizations following the Boston Marathon bombings.
According to MoneyGram, this type of fraud typically spikes immediately
following a national tragedy, with consumers losing an average of $824 when
they fall victim to a fake charity scam.
“During tragic times like the event in Boston this week, we know there are
perpetrators who seize these situations and move quickly to create fraudulent
‘charitable’ organizations to prey on well-intentioned people who want to
help. This angers us,” said Kim Garner, senior vice president of global
security and investigations for MoneyGram. “There are reputable charities
doing good work after the bombing in Boston. We want to do our part by
informing the public-at-large that charity-related scams can occur and provide
them with tips and resources to confirm the legitimacy of an organization
before making a donation.”
Garner added, “If a charity asks for a donation by money transfer, it’s likely
a scam. As a rule, never send a wire transfer to someone you don’t know,
because once the money is sent, it’s gone for good.”
A charity scam occurs when a scammer solicits a “donation” to benefit a
particular organization. The organization may sound similar to a legitimate
charity, and may even have a fake website that looks like an organization’s
official site. “But once the donation is sent by money transfer, the scam is
complete. The money does not go to the intended cause, and the donor can’t get
their money back,” says Garner.
Garner says there are five red flags that signal a likely charity scam:
*Name Game: The name of the organization is similar to a well-known
charity, but is slightly off – such as the word “United” instead of
“American” or “Organization” instead of “Association.” Consumers can
search the IRS website for legitimate, tax-exempt charities.
*High Pressure: The caller needs an immediate answer and asks you to donate
without taking the time to do any research into the organization. The FTC
offers these tips to review before giving to a charity.
*Cash Only: The organization will only accept cash through a wire transfer
– legitimate non-profit organizations accept multiple forms of payment.
*Lack of Information: Anyone soliciting donations should be able to answer
questions about the organization and where the money is going. If they
can’t answer specific questions, hang up or delete the email.
*Online Push: As internet and social media use continues to grow, charity
scams thrive online. Multiple fraudulent organizations can prey on a
donor’s goodwill quickly by pushing for a donation using online platforms.
Garner advises consumers to follow the three Rs – recognize, react and report
– to ensure the affected families in Boston receive each intended donation.
*Recognize: Consumers should look for red flags when an organization asks
them to send a donation through a wire service, because scammers often
request these methods knowing that once the money is sent, it cannot be
*React: When a charity scam is identified, 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 charity 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 Boston Marathon charity scam. This
information can be helpful in stopping others from being scammed by the same
scheme. Since mid-2010, MoneyGram has prevented millions of dollars from being
lost in suspected fraudulent 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.com - where consumers can arm themselves with
information to prevent monetary losses to charity scams.
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 310,000 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.
Sophia Stoller / Mike Gutierrez, 214-303-9923
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