Tax-time brings attention to fake charity scams with promises of big
DALLAS -- (Business Wire)
(NYSE: MGI), a leading global money transfer company, is warning
consumers who are in a giving mood not to get taken by a charity scam
this tax season.
During 2012, the company says victims of charity scams lost an average
of $824 each time they sent money intended for a non-profit organization.
“There are a couple key times during the year when consumers think about
charitable giving – at the end of the year and as they prepare their tax
returns and tally their charitable deductions. During these times, they
may notice they are receiving an increase in charity and giving requests
by e-mail, mail boxes, and over the phone,” said Kim Garner, senior vice
president of global security and investigations for MoneyGram. “Many of
these are scams; fraudsters prey upon consumers during these times. If a
charity asks for a donation by money transfer, it’s probably a scam. As
a rule, never send a wire transfer to someone you don’t know – you may
lose the money and the intended tax deduction as well.”
“It would certainly be unusual for a charity to request a donation via
MoneyGram. Before giving, donors are well advised to find out if the
charity meets the 20 Better Business Bureau (BBB) charity standards by
says H. Art Taylor, president and CEO of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance.
“And, also confirm if the charity has received charitable tax-exempt
status from the IRS, especially if you intend to claim a deduction at
The charity scam occurs when a fraudster asks a victim to donate to a
particular cause or organization. The organization may sound similar to
a legitimate charity, and may even have a fake website made to look like
an organization’s official site. In all cases, the scam ends the same
way: A victim wires money and cannot get it back.
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.”
- High Pressure: The caller needs an immediate answer and asks
you to donate without taking the time to do any research into the
cause or organization.
- 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. If they can’t answer
questions, hang up or delete the email.
- Prize Patrol: A legitimate organization won’t guarantee a prize
for a donation. If they do, it’s a scam.
Garner 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 they don’t know 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. This
information can be helpful in stopping others from being scammed by the
same scheme. Since mid-2010, MoneyGram has prevented millions of dollars
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
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
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Sophia Stoller / Mike Gutierrez,
Source: MoneyGram International