Protect Yourself from Fraud

Common Wire Transfer Scams

  • Romance Scams: You meet someone online who starts building a relationship with you to gain your trust. They will generally chat with you multiple times a day to quickly establish a "close" relationship. Once they feel that the trust has been built, an "unexpected event" will come up where they need you to send them money for some sort of emergency (deployed overseas, medical bills, plane ticket to visit, etc). Never send money to anyone you have not met in person.

  • Computer Scams: Someone contacts you over the phone or you receive a pop-up message on your computer stating there is an issue with your computer. They will offer to fix it for a fee, and will then request remote access to your device. If you give them access, it's possible they will install harmful software and your personal/financial information may be compromised. They will also sometimes offer a "refund" for a service that you are no longer using or an accidental overcharge. If online banking access is given to the scammers, they will transfer the funds from one account to the other to make it appear like they have issued a refund. It's usually for a larger amount than what was stated (ex. $50,000 instead of $500) so the scammer will try to ask you to send the funds back as a wire, gift cards, or cash so they don't lose their job.

  • Real Estate Scams: These scams target individuals who are closing on a home, whether it's buying or refinancing. The scammer obtains a legitimate email account to impersonate who the client is working with, and sends out fraudulent wiring instructions to send money to the scammers account instead. Confirm all closing information with your lender. If there is a last-minute change, do not use any new account/phone numbers that were given to you. Contact the lender by calling the phone number on their website to verify.

  • Fake Check Scams: You receive a check from someone for a prize that you won, a job you haven't done yet, overpayment, etc. The person you are in contact with tells you to deposit the check, and wire back some (or all) of the funds. The funds are available in your account, but the check is actually fake and will eventually return. You will owe your financial institution the money that was withdrawn. A good question to ask yourself is-it too good to be true? If the answer is 'yes' it most likely is.

  • Family Emergency Scams: You receive a call from someone who is pretending to be a family friend or relative. They are usually in a panic, and will say they need cash for an emergency. They will ask that you wire money to them right away. They might say things like they need money to get out of jail, or pay some sort of medical bill. The family impersonator will usually ask you not to tell anyone in your family.

Source: FTC.gov