MoneyGram is not only among the easiest ways of transferring money from one country to another, but it’s also one of the safest. Take a look at some of its impressive security features:
• You’ll have to provide proof that you are who you say you are if you want to send money, and you’ll need proof of address as well. This prevents scammers from sending your money where you don’t want it to go.
• When you use MoneyGram to send money abroad, you will receive a reference number which you can then send to the recipient through SMS or email. This ensures that you are sending the money to the right person, and without the reference number no one else can collect your money.
• As the one sending money, you are also asked to provide the recipient’s name and the recipient also needs to show a valid ID. If you know the recipient has no valid ID, then you can include a security question to which only the recipient will know the answer.
The Chink in the MoneyGram Armor
The most obvious security problem is not with MoneyGram per se, but with you as the sender. You may be duped by unscrupulous operators who can take advantage of your naiveté, your sense of generosity, or your greed. That said, you need to carefully consider if you should really be sending the money through MoneyGram, especially if you don’t know who the recipient is.
For example, someone may claim to be a relative and email you saying that they need money because their dad is in the hospital needing heart surgery ASAP. Instead of rushing to the nearest MoneyGram location, make sure that this “relative” is who they say they are. Are they using the phone number or email address you know they use? Can you get them on the phone and ask them questions only they would know the answer to? You have to verify their identity, and if possible you should also verify why they need the money.
There are other countless scam operations out there, from fake disaster relief programs to fake emails supposedly from MoneyGram asking for your financial information (which, by the way, MoneyGram will never do through email). MoneyGram isn’t vulnerable to scams, but you are.
What to Do If You’ve Been Duped
If you’ve neglected to take some basic precautions and got scammed, there are things you need to do. While it is highly unlikely that you’ll ever get your money back, at least you can inform the authorities so that they can issue a general warning or even track down the perpetrators.
So if you’ve been duped, contact your local police right away. If you were tricked over the Internet or over the phone, you should also submit a report to the National Consumers League’s Fraud Center. Call the Federal trade Commission at the tool-free number 1-877-FTC-HELP or file an online complaint. For online scams, contact the Internet Crime Complaint Center. This is a collaborative effort that includes the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. You should also call MoneyGram at 1-800-MONEYGRAM to inform them that a fraudulent transaction occurred.