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Money Transfer Scams

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The U.S. Postal Inspection Service recently distributed thousands of checks totaling $46 million to people who lost money in scams that involved MoneyGram, a popular money transfer service.

According to law enforcement officials, from 2004 to 2009, MoneyGram turned a blind eye to scam artists and money launderers who used the company to commit fraud. During that time, tens of thousands of people in the U.S. lost money to a variety of money transfer scams, including fake lottery and prize scams, family emergency scams, and “guaranteed” loan scams.

How do these scams work? Generally, you get a call from someone who says:

  • you won a prize but you have to pay “taxes” on it
  • a friend is in trouble and needs your help
  • you can get a loan — even if you have bad credit — but you have to pay a small fee first

Whatever the pitch, the caller’s only goal is to get your money ­— not to give you something in return.

MoneyGram also agreed to step up their anti-fraud programs. Nevertheless, scammers continue to add new twists to old schemes and pressure people into sending money. Using a money transfer service is like sending cash ­— once you send the money, it’s nearly impossible to trace it or get it back.

Check out this video for more details:



Tagged with: money transfer, refunds, scam
Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit


Has anybody heard about some company called STS? They have convinced my son to send them $150 for some stock. Now they want another $150 to activate the account. They claim there is $2,500 worth of stock in the account.

Has anyone heard of a company called STS? They have convinced my son to wire them $150 for some stock. Now they want another $150 to activate the account, so he can get his money. Sounds fishy to me.

what if someone want you to deposit a check and then wire some of the funds. but they are ok with you waiting a week until the check clears your bank? ( here are his instructions. applied for an administrative assistant position through craigslist. )

How are you doing today?Your first assignment commence today like i said in my previous email on the Meanwhile i will like you to take precautions of my instructions and follow them orderly.I am having my co-coordinator Katie Allen to handle some of my affairs in Benin and therefore you will be sending him the funds via WESTERN UNION,I will like you to withdraw out the whole amount and deduct $400 for your service towards handling these.You are deduct the status of the payment,As soon as you have the cash from your Bank kindly proceed to WESTERN UNION LOCATION And have the whole funds sent expect from your $400 and the WESTERN UNION Charges...Below is Katie Allen information you will be needing to send the funds to in Benin...

Since he is letting me wait till the check clears do you think this is ok?

No, this is just another version of the scam. Banks "clear" checks within a few days, and it often looks like there's real money in your account. But it can take several weeks for the bank to uncover a fake check. When the bank discovers that the check is fake, they will take that money back out of your account. If you've already withdrawn the money, the bank will demand that you pay it back.

just so everyone is aware, check was fraudulent was never deposited had bank check before hand.

Hi I am dealing with the same thing. What was the number if you don't mind me asking.

We found a car on claiming Amazon would be a nuetral party to hold the money they wanted wired to an account while the car was shipped from another state. The seller also claimed to be in the miliatary and had to sell the car fast as she was being shipped out. I called Amazon to verify before we wired money and they confirmed it was a scam even though the Amazon bill looked authentic

I fell for it. I was desperate for a car, terrible financial circumstances, everything looked perfectly official and I paid $2,600 yesterday. Now all I can do is cry. It's horrible how honest hardworking minimum wage earners get prayed upon like this. Person claimed to be military. Disgusting.

Don't feel stupid happened to me too ebay was handling all the financial work her name was Sargent Elizabeth Haggar and every ebay email looked real and it had this message was originate through ebay to show your registred name and I didn't think nothing of it because I do have a ebay account

I Was sellin my car today and I was almost scammed awell by sending 900 to western union so they could approve my deposit of 2500 dont send nothin at all

Apparently the same person is listing this vehicle on Craigslist too. She claimed the exact same thing you listed here. This is such an insult to our hardworking, honest military personnel.
Others, PLEASE do not fall for this scam!

I just got scammed by the exact same thing but I was stupid and fell for it. Only after I found I was scammed when I called Amazon. Goes by name Aaron Kramer Fake Amazon email stating the money is being refunded due to wrong amount needs to be in euro. This scammer still emailing me if I got a refund at my bank. I have not replied back, don't know what else to do. I did report it though.

My mom just went through a terrible ordeal with some "Officer Landry" who called from 1-514-611-9999 to say that her grandson was in jail and needed to be bailed out. She was instructed to go to the bank, withdraw $2000 and then go to RiteAid and buy Green Dot Money paks ($500 each) and then return their call. She called me (daughter)since she does not drive and when I called the number back that they had given her, of course they wanted to numbers off the back of the card. Since I work for the federal government in administration, I made that clear and of course I was hung up on. When I tried to call the number back, it rang 4 times and went to a voicemail box that was not set up. Thank GOD I intercepted this SCAM or my poor elderly mom would be out $2000. When we called my nephew (Mom's grandson), he knew nothing about "being in jail" and we found that the phone number was out of Quebec, Canada. We now have changed our "policy" of answering our phones, both landline and cell phones - we don't answer it unless we know the name/number that come up on caller ID. NO more scams for us on the telephone. You have to be watching over your shoulder every minute with the scammers out there. My Mom has been so upset about this since we feel we were "violated" with the callers knowing so much about us and using a family member in trouble as their MO. Shame on them...shame on us for not doing something more to stop these scam scums!

My Dad just lost $5000 for the same scam. They told him not to talk to anyone. He is 81yrs old. He had never heard of those green dot cards (neither had I) and did as they instructed by telling them the numbers on the back. Finally, he told me what was happening an I checked with my son who lives in another state and he was not in another country on vacation. My poor father has lost $5000. There is no way to catch these people?

My husband and I keep getting calls saying we "won" a vehicle. The caller(s) sometimes sound Jamaican and sometimes from India. All we need to do is send Green Dot Money Packs to help pay for the taxes. They use different numbers all the time. The last call came Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 5:48 p.m. from "Mr. Schafer". We have been bothered for about 3 months now and intend to turn them in every time they call! Why can't they just get a real job like the rest of us do. I wish they could get caught!

I have also received calls of this same nature using the name Mr. Baxter , he has an accent , eiether Jamaican or Indian. He is very stern , demanding and rude! Calls show locations of Jamaica, New Jersey and more , with different numbers. They tell you they are some Prize Awarding thing and you are the winner of a "pink Mercedes and 2 million dollars, but you have to pay them x amount , using a Green Dot card! This one guy went so far as to honk the horn on the"pink Mercedes" and to tell me to meet him at a bank location for delivery! This kind of thing preys on older American citizens and needs to be stopped! We pay a lot for cell phone services and yet we are constantly invaded by this kind of thing and hundreds more! It makes me want to throw my phone out then window! Don't give out your number on your computer ! There are vultures and thieves waiting !

Beware of the name 'Jeff Gant' or 'Earl Waters'. I had been scammed out of $15,000.00. This guy called and said he work with an Attorney and helped people get their money back. After several call getting my information such as company and facts of the scamm, he called and told me I would be getting a check for the entire amount back. I was so happy and when he said I would have to send certified check for the work involved ($1300) which was a percentage of my loss, I did not think anything about it. I was just so happy to think I was getting the money back, I stupidly sent the money. Needless to say, I never got my money, nor was I ever able to get anyone on the phone again.. We do some really stupid things, without thinking or checking when it comes to money. Now, I have lost all faith in the human race!

I lost all faith in the human race a long time ago. I feel your pain.


This people are doing scams don't talk to them. They will call you and tell you that you are approved for a loan and then take your money. They are a** hole. Moth******ers. Scam Scam Scam Scam Scam Scam Scam Scam Scam Scam Scam Scam

I was scammed for 8,600.00. Have been told Homeland Security is helping me get my refund. They want to increase my credit limit and give me a check for the amt. Is this a fraud . Thanks S

if anyone gets a request from a Elizabeth Warren do not except it it is a scam I fell for it and im out a 150.00 dollars she said that is a agent and she works for the federal agency

my mother in law called me frantic that my son, not sure which one, (ages 15 and 13)called her saying that he was in mexico that spring break started early and his friends parent was a pilot. They told her that her he (grandson) wasn't feeling well and had to go to the hospital for surgery on his appendix and they needed money. The phone number came up private so we were not able to do a call back. The people who called on said "Grandma" and never identified with a name, only she did. Now Grandma is upset and doesn't know what to believe.

I received a check drawn on Natl Penn Bank for $2440. The routing number actually belongs to Bank of Oklahoma. This check is for an 'evaluation check' regarding Western Union, and $300 is compensation, and the rest is 'evaluation' money. Asked me to send an email confirming receipt to and I would receive further instructions
The name of the company is MS MARKETING CO. 600 B ST. #1500, SAN DIEGO, CA 92101 (323)696-4268

I just recently got scammed i was on craigslist lookin for an affordable car for my family. i thought i found a great deal they sent me emails about how they go through ebay protection program so everything would b protected. they said to send money gram and car would b delivered. i fell for it and sent money gram for $2020 and then got email telling me needed to send $1430 for insurance. that was when i realized it was all scam because when tried to cancel purchase and get my money back i got no respond. so now I lost out on car and money. this all happened this week. i have 4 little girls and just wanted a car to go places this summer. How can i get my money back so i can go buy an actual car for my family??

I'm sorry that this happened to you. It's very difficult to trace money transfers, but it's a good idea to call the money transfer company immediately to report the fraud and file a complaint. Ask for the money transfer to be reversed. You also can file a complaint with your local consumer protection agency and with the FTC.

I had to pay 110.00 on Tues April 1 to Cancel a Loan application is a SCAM or legitimate thing to do?

The following information was emailed to me from a seller on Craigslist after I texted him interest in purchasing a car.

Barrett Paul SSgt -- USAF ACC 23 FSS FSVF

Apr 2 (1 day ago)

to me
Hi ,
Let me give you a few details about my Mazda. Really good shape, never had any problems with it, no scratches or dents, the car is free of any accidents (exterior color gray, interior tan, automatic transmission, mileage 106,313, engine 3.5L 6cyl). The title is legally under my name, clear and free of any liens or loans. The price is $4,800 cause I need to sell it before 28th of April, when I'll be leaving with my platoon back to Afghanistan, replacing the troops scheduled to come home.
If you have any other questions or need more info, please feel free to ask. I can provide you more details if you are interested in buying it.

Thank you,
Paul A. Barrett

Hi Rita,

I will do my best to walk you through the process. As I told you in my first email, I am ready to deploy to Afghanistan. The vehicle is located in Omaha, Nebraska, but i advertised it on other states also to get more exposure and sell it faster. The vehicle is already at the shipping company , ready to be delivered to its future new owner. Being a military personnel, the deal is handled by Army and Air Force Exchange Service so I don't have much to do about it. Using Army and Air Force Exchange Service`s, you get free delivery, at your place in 4-6 days. In addition, you get 5 days to try it out before buying it, and if you don't like it, you can send it back at my expense. For more info on how it works, I can ask Army and Air Force Exchange Service to send you an email with more details on how to buy it. They will contact you shortly, as soon as have your personal details. If you would like to receive the email from Army and Air Force Exchange Service with all the transaction information, please reply with your full name, address and phone # and they will contact you right away.

Thank you,
Paul A. Barrett

This is excellent news! You will see these guys are great! So I will have Army and Air Force Exchange Service to send you the invoice, and you will receive it by e-mail, all the instructions and details about your safety and about the sale altogether. After you receive the invoice, in case you decide to buy it you will have to pay through Army and Air Force Exchange Service, as they will hold, protect and guarantee your money until you get the mazda. You will try it out for 5 days, and if at the end you are happy with it, you can give them the "green" to release the money to me. Or if not, you can just send it back and get a refund, without paying for the shipping.
They also have their toll free number on the invoice, so for any additional questions, feel free to ring them.

Thank you
Paul A. Barrett

Barrett Paul SSgt -- USAF ACC 23 FSS FSVF

6:01 PM (3 hours ago)

to me
You will have their toll free number on the invoice , if you have questions or if you'd like to know more details about it

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service would not be involved in a car sale between a military member and a civilian. This sounds like a variation of a money transfer scam. Craigslist advises users to buy and sell locally to avoid scam artists. According to the FTC, it's not a good idea to send money to someone you don't know by money transfer or a pre-paid card -- which are nearly impossible to trace or refund.

I fell for the same scam, and it cost my only $100.00 by Western Union. He called back 30 minutes later and said that because this transaction was not conducted through my bank. I would have to pay the full amount of $200.00. He wanted me to go to a different Western Union to do this. I refused and told him that I would be contacting a supervisor. while still on the computer and the phone He, at the same time the dialogue box indicated that I was re-connected and that a support tech would be contacting me shortly. He said that he would be contacting me on Monday. When I tried to sign in to my laptop the next day. I couldn't. The administrative password had been cleared out. I had to contact the manufacturer and them conduct a default set which took me 3 to 4 hours. The scammers name was Sadiya Abdalla Ganamo, going by the name of Leon Wilson. The next number that I began getting calls from was 323-489-7475. He said his name was John Parker. He was from India with an American name. When I called this number back, it was a a Walmart super center. Please be advised.

I received a call from a company called fast cash out of PA who offered me a loan of $5.000.00 with a 3% interest rate and all i had to do was send $275.00 for an application fee ,his name was mark sandford at 1-610-732-4469 then he asked me to send $275.00 for western union fees via a green dot money card ,about 10 mins later he called to say that western union lines were down and id have to send another $225 for money gramm fees and they would call me back 30 mins later with the eight digit no for moneygram .while i was waiting for the call western union called me back to apologise for the problems and would add $200 on my account.. i never got the call from moneygrammm nor mark sandford id been scammed for $895.00 ......

You can file a complaint with the FTC at Your complaint helps law enforcement agencies in their investigations.

I just got a cashiers check for 2,097 from eddy federal credit union from a mark Bailey said for Mr to deposits it toy account all thou I did but have not gotten theomey from the bank is there still time for me to go talk to them this happened Friday and today is Sunday??? I'm going Monday to talk toy back I don't want to get I'm trouble he was going to pay me 200 and me send the rest thru moneypack

This sounds like a fake check scam. You are responsible for any money you withdraw against that check. It's best wait until the bank confirms the funds from the check have been deposited into your account before making any withdraws.

My ex son in law sent $8000.00 for a motorcycle on and internet ad from Italy. IT was fake. He's stupid.

i was sent two cashiers check in the mail for secret shopper turns out checks where fake and my bank did not put anything but a one day hold.

Hi I was scammed on craigslist it was a mystery shopper job and got the check but caked the bank on the check to confirm if it was real which it was not so I thought it was over but now these people are threatening to send people to my home and I have a child I am a little shaken by the whole thing

so sorry to hear this, i am worried because the same thing happened to me this week. do they eventually leave you alone or what else happened? please and thank you

who do I turn the money order over to ? haven't cashed it... post office?

Yes, you can call the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at 1-877-876-2455.

I got call from a number in Washington DC area code 202, stating I won a sweepstakes lottery, whom stated the taxes were already paid and all I need to pay is $300 to have the check register in my name, so when I go to cash it it wiil be already registered and the bank would not give me any static. He said the amount is 7 million. Has anyone ever experience this? It sounds so fishee!! Oh they state they work for FTC

I was sent a United States Postal money order of course I know about scams so I did my research called the number to check and is fake. Call and research when in doubt don't put in bank and don't send. For any reason..

Does this seem like a scam to you guys?

Home based job (Working from home)?
- We are offering an exclusive Chance to work from home. You will need only to have internet connection to communicate with us, and a mobile phone to communicate with our operators.

Our Customers are based worldwide and utilise our services from anywhere at any convenient time. Cash transfers are made from the country of their temporary residence to their new destination country, as the legislation in many countries require income tax statements for payment orders. For this purpose our company provides confidential money transfer to our Customers. Besides that, we provide solid support to several type of financial transactions.

Your salary will be USD 725 per week. With each successful transaction you will receive the 5% of the transaction total value. The work is about 2 to 3 hours per day. On the probation period you will process the payments through your personal bank account. When the probation period will be completed, our company will open a corporate bank account for this purpose. For the safe money transferring of our Customers payments, our Company uses only bank accounts. Also your salary will be transferred to your bank account.

This is an easy job as it doesn't demand any training. You should only follow our instructions. We will be reporting for each task individually.

We have many years of working experience in this field.

Please see the "Job Description" file for more details about current position.

Are you ready to get started?

Yes. I would not answer an email like this. The red flags I see are:

  • Exclusive opportunity
  • High earnings for easy work
  • Unsolicited offer

Read more about how to spot work at home opportunities that are really a scam here.

I got an email to sign up for some research program like the ones you get from University research center. Then they email me telling me the evaluation will be delivered in few days and follow the instruction. So it ended up it's a moenygram business evaluation. They mailed me a check with the fund to be transfered via Moneygram plus the amount to be paid-out to me. They ask me to deposit the check to my bank account and use Moneygram to transfer portion of it to unknown person. They ask me to observe how long it takes for the moneygram clerk to service you. I did deposit the check via ATM but then right afterwards that I thought that was suspicious so I called up the bank and have them stopped cashing the check. Watch out guys!

I got a call saying I was under a federal mandate to get a credit card. I money framed the processing fee and then called and said there was a mistake. I had to send more. Then called and said I had 30 minutes to send more so I could get my card within an hour. All in all I sent this m@@@@@ f@@@@@ 3000.00 and nothing. His name is Patrick Costello from florida

I was involved with a Craigslist and Western Union scam. After depositing the check Western Union cautioned me about the scam. I went to my bank the day after depositing the check for assistance. They told me to let it clear. If it cleared it was good. I waited until it cleared before withdrawing any funds for the Western Union scam. The next day the check came back bad. I am trying to get the bank to provide restitution since I received bad advice from their teller but they aren't willing to make it right. I am continuing to fight it.

Hi, just want to let you all know to be on the lookout for a person named Tiara Wright . She is demanding money transfers by money gram and sent me a huge check of $2,753 to pay not only for a $90 furniture and a transfer fee, but to pay for the so called "movers" claiming that they would come to my place once the money is transferred . All i wanted to do was sell my furniture .

hello, did you cash the check?

My 74 year old Dad has just been scammed Paid cash in to Post office account Tony Raymond through Money Gram - now has nothing left to live off - I have told him time and time again NEVER to speak to anyone on the phone or at the door!!! :(

Does anyone know of ShandHai Suntin Electronic Technology Co,LTD


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