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The Crown Capital Management News: MoneyGram Reminds Consumers Scam Artists


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Three types of scams typically increase during the holiday season. Scammers attempt to extract funds from unsuspecting individuals who are hoping to earn extra money for holiday spending, give money to charities, and shop for gifts online.


-- Earning: Many people want to earn extra spending money for holiday

shopping, and may be tempted by offers to "work at home" or become a

"mystery shopper" for a product or retailer. The recipient may be asked

to send a wire transfer or money order for a start-up kit, or the

recipient receives a large check to cash -- which turns out to be

fraudulent -- and is instructed to spend some of the money and wire the

rest back. Once the consumer sends the money, there is no way to get it



-- Giving: Legitimate charities increase their solicitations during the

holidays to take advantage of feelings of goodwill, but many scammers use

fake charities to try to steal money from well-meaning consumers. If a

charity isn't well known or sounds like a scam, consumers should check it

out thoroughly before making a donation.


-- Shopping: Products and deals advertised on the internet that seem "too

good to be true" probably are. Scammers entice consumers into believing

they're getting a deal, and ask for advance payment through a money

transfer or money order. Consumers won't receive the merchandise, and

they won't get their money back.

"Never wire money to someone you don't know," says Kim Garner, senior vice president of Global Security at MoneyGram. "Fraudsters don't take holidays so it's important for consumers to be alert to signs of possible fraud and follow the three R's rule."


-- Recognize: Savvy consumers should look for red flags when someone asks

them to send money through a wire service or money order, because

scammers often request these methods knowing that once the money is sent,

it cannot be retrieved.


-- React: When they identify a scam, consumers should immediately put an end

to any transaction or conversation -- hang up the phone, delete the email,

or end the back-and-forth messaging.


-- Report: Report the suspected scam to the local police, and file reports

with the Federal Trade Commission, National Consumers League, and

Internet Crime Complaint Center (if the suspected fraud was online).

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