Many variations of Moneygram scams are being exposed to the public, and becoming the victim of one may not only cost you money, but you may also face criminal charges as well. So how do you not become another money order fraud victim? You first should understand what the fraud is, and the different variations of the fraud that are known.
A Moneygram scam happens when a person sends you a money order for either a service or good. They will then instruct you to cash the money order, keep a certain dollar amount for yourself, and then send the rest of the money to a third party. The reason this is a fraud is because the order is either homemade or it has been chemically washed to erase the information that was once on it, and then made to say that it is worth more money that it is actually worth. A criminal may buy a $10 money order, then make it appear to be worth $1000. When you cash the money order, you will be given the $1000, but once the money order fraud is figured out, it will then be your responsibility to pay back the $990. Either way the money order is made, they do look impressively real, and can easily fool anyone. Anytime you are asked to cash a money order, and then send money to someone, you can probably assume that it is a Moneygram scam. Other times the criminals will just ask you for money, in a clever way of course. If you do not know the person, then is best to not send the money.
One popular variant of the fraud deals with the criminal telling you that you have won a sweepstakes or lottery. An “official notice” will be sent saying that you have money waiting to be claimed. It will look real, and may even include a telephone number you can call, but it is just an elaborate scam. The biggest red flag for this type of Moneygram scam is that you will be asked to send money before your winnings can be distributed, usually for fees or taxes. No real sweepstakes or lottery will ever ask for money. Another of the scams will ask you for a service. You will be contacted, and asked to cash money orders for a “company”. They will also allow you to keep some for yourself. How many legitimate companies do you know of just let strangers handle their money?
Other criminals will offer to buy a good that you are selling. They will look on the internet and in newspapers for items to buy. They will generally offer more than asking price, and will need the item to be sent overseas. Through a money order, they will send full payment for the item, as well as the amount it will cost for you ship the item with the company of their choice. There is no company, and the money order is probably fake. Cashing the money order will mean that you are helping the criminal with the money order fraud, and that you will have to pay all the money back yourself. It could also means that you have to pay additional money for fines or spend time in jail.
There are all sorts of different ways that a Moneygram scam can manifest itself, but they will all include you sending money and/or cashing a money order. Look out for charity scams that ask you to help with cancer research or a natural disaster, and only donate money to organizations that are reputable and well-known. Also be aware that they may ask you for money to help out someone closest to you. The criminal may tell you that your friend has become incarcerated and needs money to bailed out of jail. Before you send any money, call the person and the place they are suppose to be at, do not use any number they give you, but instead look up the real numbers. It is unfortunate that people look for ways to scam others out of money, but it does happen everyday. When it comes to money, think before you act, and never send money to someone you do not know. Moneygram is a very reliable company, but criminals have found a way to take advantage of others using money orders.
Although the idea of money order fraud seems easy to understand, it is the method of the con which the criminal uses that is easy to fall for. The stories can be extremely varied, but there are a few types that are most commonly used. Understanding what money order fraud is, and what to look out for when dealing with money orders will hopefully help you to never become a victim.