How to Stop Scammers in Their Tracks on the Road to Romance
DALLAS -- (Business Wire)
(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
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
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
- 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
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
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
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Mike Gutierrez / Sophia Stoller, 214-303-9923