Wiring money offers a quick way to help family, friends and strangers in need, but some abuse the service to engage in criminal acts. Those accused of wire fraud may use various scams to part individuals from their money.
The Federal Trade Commission explores different wire scams. Those accused of wire fraud and their victims must understand how a request for money could turn into criminal charges.
To separate innocent parties from their money, some scammers create fake profiles on dating apps and sites or social media sites. After capturing a person’s heart and interest, the scammer shares she or he has a financial emergency and needs the unknowing victim’s help.
Fake check scam
Fake check scams involve sending a person a check and asking her or him to cash it before wiring some funds back. Fake checks appear legitimate because banks cash them and the funds appear in the recipient’s bank account. Once the bank realizes the scam, it demands the money back from the victim.
Apartment rental scam
Individuals looking for apartments may come across ads for great-looking units at low prices. Before touring the apartment, a “landlord” may ask for rent, an application fee or a security deposit before moving forward. Scammers lure their victims by replacing their contact information on a legitimate property owner’s ad.
Family emergency scams
When a long-lost cousin, aunt or another relative reaches out, it could be a scammer posing as a relative to steal money. The victim hears about the “relative’s” high health care bill, upcoming international trip or unfortunate encounter with law enforcement. The scammer asks the person for money and requests she or he does not tell the rest of the family.
The right words and approach could turn an innocent individual into a wire fraud victim. Knowing the tactics scammers use keeps would-be victims and would-be scammers on the right side of the law.