Money Transfer Scams | Federal Trade Commission

Why is the FTC interested in money transfers? We’ve seen a great rise in the last year on money transfer frauds. Often times, people will get phone calls from someone who claims to know a relative, from someone who tells them they’ve won a prize, from someone who tells them they’ve got a wonderful business opportunity. And the key is, at some point, they have to wire money to someone they don’t know. And what we’re trying to tell the public is: if you’re ever asked to wire money to someone you don’t know, it’s likely a scam. Stop. Think. And make sure that the person that you think you’re sending money to is someone who is legitimate, someone who in fact is a relative, or someone who you have a pre-existing relationship with. What are different types of money transfer scams? The Grandparent Scam The problem is that money wire scams come in all shapes and sizes. We see scams that we call the Grandparent Scams. These are phone calls from people who purport to know a grandchild or even from a grandchild saying that they’re in trouble in a foreign city or in a remote place, and they need money quickly. And then the caller suggests sending money by wire. And so money is sent by wire to a friend, someone who claims to be a friend of a relative or a grandchild. The money is transferred, and it disappears. Once it’s wired, it evaporates. There’s no way for you to get it back. And we’re seeing a real rise in those kinds of scams. The Prize Promotion Scam Other kinds of scams are what we call the prize scams. You’re called up; you’re told that you’ve won a prize. All you need to do is to wire some money, and then they’ll send you the prize. Or they’ll ask you to send them a check so they have information about your checking account, and they will drain your money. And so these kinds of scams take all kinds of forms, but the bottom line rule is that if you’re asked to wire money to someone you don’t know it’s almost certainly a scam. The Counterfeit Check Scam One scam we’re seeing a lot of—wire scams—starts with you getting a check from someone you don’t know. And as soon as you deposit that check, and that person will be asking you to use that check for some of your own purposes and then to wire them some money back. The problem is the bank has to clear your check within a couple of days, even before it’s certain that the check is valid. And if, and this happens all the time, if you wire money back thinking there’s money in your account, and it turns out—as it often does—that the check is a fake, you, not the bank, are liable for those overdrafts. The Mystery Shopper Scam So people are looking for work and will get a call from someone who says, for instance, they’ve been selected to be a mystery shopper. And they will soon get a check for thousands of dollars that will pay not only their salary but will pay them to go shop at stores that are available everywhere. They’ll cash the check; the bank will clear the check because the bank doesn’t have any choice. And then they’ll go out, spend some money and wire money back to their employer. Or so they think. But they’re not wiring back the employer’s money because that check was fake. What they’re doing is they’re wiring money they don’t have but they will be liable for, and they will end up in debt as a result of this. Are there times when money transfers are appropriate? Let me make one thing clear: Money transfers are a useful way to get money to people you know and you’ve had dealings with in the past—quickly and efficiently. What we’re worried about, is using money transfers to send money to people you don’t know or haven’t had any dealings with in the past. That’s a red flag that often times is not a false alarm. What if I wired money to someone I don’t know? So suppose you’ve fallen prey to one of these scams: and you’ve sent a wire transfer to someone you don’t know or you’ve cashed a check that turns out to be fake and sent a wire transfer based on that. The first thing you should do is report that incident to the wire transfer company so it can conduct an investigation. Then, please, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. You can do that either through our website at, or you can do it by phone, at 1-877-FTC-HELP.

26 thoughts on “Money Transfer Scams | Federal Trade Commission

  1. this man is absoluutly right. but most people wont think and look on the short term for earning a quick buck. this is how scammers get your money.

  2. this is true it happen to me iwas looking for a truck online n the person told me to send money for the truck n dat google wallet was going to take care of everything i sent money thru moneygram n now i cant get my money only if i knew its fuck up how people can do this

    I sent $500 online this evening and they canceled the transaction, gave no reason and yet the money was taken from my account. I called them and after finally getting a supervisor, I was lied to telling me someone tried to call to verify my account information. They could not verify my information yet they took it from my account?!  It will be refunded in 3 – 5 working days. While Western Union enjoys using my money for free (and who knows how many others') I was given the option to go to a Western Union Office and transfer it that way. They expect me to shell out even more money before refunding what they unethically took. This woman truly could have cared less. The real loser? The person on the other end that truly needs the money. I don't care if it is "legal". It is unethical at best and the excuse that was given: "They all do it". That sounds like a 7 year old kid's excuse. It would be very interesting to know how much these companies make annually off using others' monies that do not belong to them that was taken and no reason given just because they can. I wasted time online creating an account, entered all my personal information they now have for nothing. SCAM!

    Western Union = BOYCOTT.

  4. I keep getting calls from US Government Grants. This time I won $8,000 in grant money that I don't have to pay back. The only catch is I have to send them $200 in a Green Dot card so they can release the money. FRAUD. I have been STUNG with GREEN DOT cards before. Like they say, if you have to send thwm money it is a SCAM!

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  6. they was scammed by wire, check and online bank scams and damn near every thing u can think of and not just family but friends of family members we would consider family. he is right its gone way out of control saying they are a loan company and willing to give you a loan doesn't matter what your credit score is. and before you know it your account is closed and over drawn by a large amount its a mess

  7. I've been asked by a woman from Ghana to open a money gram account so her "Rich" uncle can send money to me so I can send it to her. If the rich uncle is sending money to my account how's this a scam? Or is the deposit Fake? But doesn't money gram have to authorize it before the funds are available? I need help. This is happening to me now!

  8. all scammer is in Africa Nigeria please peoples be aware if any one contact you from there contact asap to local police station or authorized money transfer office be aware please

  9. Hello sir! Please help me how to get back my money from scammer! I loses a huge amount of money. And I'am very grateful If you help me. thanks a lot.

  10. I had a really weird situation.I was being sent thousands of dollars and then asked me to wire to someone else.but I was literally getting thousands and being trusted to send it to who they need it sent to.

  11. Please help Verizon, made a copy of all my phones. my phones keep getting taped and you can here the tap, tap, and every time I go to the College of Southern Maryland my phone service get cut off for 5 to 10min and will not cut back on until you leave laplate Maeyland and T-Mobile cut my service off after I when to court and wanted the judge to hear the message and then keep the number and your e-mails account . after the service has been discontinued. And CVS send fake wire transfers when you pick up your prescription.

  12. I'm so glad we have such organizations​ as the FTC to warn and help protect consumers from all kinds of fraud and scams.


  14. I need help some one out there please. Due to a Scam I lost my job. I was able to recover the money from money gram. Regardless I lost my job. I believe some one from my job set me up. The con artists might have come in contact with me peor this scam. I have to find and get back and expose those who scammed me. I placed a report with police but local authorities just have me an incident Number… Any how thanks for the post I will report it to Federal Trade Commission. Also I will like some one to guide on recovery I am still a bit afraid distressed… But I still want to expose those who harmed me…

  15. There is a court judgment against someone who had committed mail fraud. She had sent three checks of $350.00 which I could have been arrested. I had reached out to the DA and the Sheriff depts in GA.How can I get her arrested?

  16. Recently I got a call from OIG From social security services they told that my identity was thrift and used for 20 banks for money laundering and drug crimes He told that we r going to protect your account but you have to go toTarget and make a Gift card of $990 like 5 times These gift wil send to your home as Cheques and bounds and wil will send your new identity to your home . If you don’t do this we r going to put you in Jail and we r monitoring you and you should not cal to anyone even you’re husband also I have 2 small babies I scared of those things what ever the scammer told I did like that. Through Capital one I make 2 gift card $990 and through Citi bank primer I paid $990 3 gift card By next day at 5 pm he has to send the cheques but no one cane to my home after few minutes I realized they that some make scam I immediately cal to Capital one and told everything what situation was I faced by scammer ,capital one gave my money back because I didn’t use that money .But Citi bank was charge from me I told about the scammer but the customer service is too bad I cal them many times every one as make trouble with their questions ask same story many times and they take 1 month to solve my issue but finally they said you have to pay the money .plz help me what I have to do Plz give me suggestion how to get money from bank because I didn’t use the money . In USA i don’t any one plz help me

  17. Great video, I was able recover some of the funds I lost to an ICo investment fraud. Jacobfifth77GmailCom helped me recover over $130k. I strongly recommend this fiasco specialist.

  18. I saw a video about jacobfifth77GmailCom fund recovery service. This service helped me recover over $80k I lost to ICo scammers.

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