DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 23, 2012--
While most Americans will prepare to lose an hour of sleep when Daylight
Saving Time ends in mid-March, many parents are preparing to lose
something else: their peace of mind when their college-age children
travel on spring break.
According to MoneyGram (NYSE: MGI), a leading global money transfer
company, spring break can end up “breaking the bank” if parents don’t
stay alert to the “family scam” – when a scammer calls parents to inform
them their child is in trouble in a distant location, asking for money
for medical care or bail, even though the child is perfectly safe.
“Spring break can be a letting-go experience for parents of college
students,” said Kim Garner, Senior Vice President of Global Security for
MoneyGram. “But along with letting go, parents should hang on to their
common sense, especially when it comes to helping their kids stay safe
and avoid certain common scams.”
Garner offers the following advice to parents of college students to
safeguard their physical and financial health during spring break:
Check in before heading out: American students traveling
internationally can register with the U.S. State Department’s free Smart
Traveler Enrollment Program, which will help with communications
in the event of an emergency. Canadian students can register with
their country’s similar program, Registration
of Canadians Abroad.
Take a lesson from E.T.: Phone home: Parents should make a deal
with their students traveling for spring break – a little freedom for
a few phone calls and some extra phone numbers. Parents should
establish specific times for phone calls to check in, so they will
know where their students are and what they’re up to, and get cell
phone numbers for the friends of their traveling children as a back-up
means of communication.
Just say no: With personal belongings left scattered on beach
towels, scammers often will use student IDs to find parents and ask
for money to be wired in the aid of their child who can’t come to the
phone. Garner of MoneyGram advises parents to say no – and never
wire money to anyone they don’t know – instead checking in by
calling the child’s cell phone or the local authorities where their
child is vacationing.
Give them credit: Parents can temporarily add a child as an
approved user to a credit card, and place a pre-set spending limit on
the card as a way to prompt financial responsibility while the student
Put a policy in place: To guard against a financial loss,
parents should check with their insurance company to make sure their
child’s possessions are insured on their homeowner’s policy while the
student is traveling, especially if the child will be traveling
outside the United States.
“The best way to ensure a safe spring break and avoid a scam is to talk
to your child in advance about these types of precautions, and schedule
regular contact so you can hear directly from them that they’re safe,”
said Garner of MoneyGram. “And while the student is traveling, parents
should focus on their own protection against scams by never sending
money to anyone they don’t know, regardless of what the individual on
the other end of a phone might be telling them.”
As part of MoneyGram’s ongoing efforts to protect consumers from wire
transfer fraud, the company recently launched an enhanced version of its
fraud prevention website – www.moneygram-preventfraud.com.
MoneyGram recommends that before initiating a money transfer, consumers
Know – Always know the person to whom you are sending money.
Never send money to strangers.
Show – Never show or share information about your money
transfer to anyone but the recipient.
Throw – Discard or throw away any offers that promise easy ways
to earn money, especially if the offers require you to send money
before earning money.
Consumers who suspect fraud associated with money transfers should
contact their local law enforcement. Consumers should call 1-800-MONEYGRAM
(800-666-3947) if they believe MoneyGram was used to wire money as a
result of a scam.
About MoneyGram International
MoneyGram International, a leading money transfer company, enables
consumers who are not fully served by traditional financial institutions
to meet their financial needs. MoneyGram offers bill payment services in
the United States and Canada and money transfer services worldwide
through a global network of more than 267,000 agent locations --
including retailers, international post offices and financial
institutions -- in 192 countries and territories. To learn more about
money transfer or bill payment at an agent location or online, please
or connect with us on Facebook.
Source: MoneyGram International
for MoneyGram International
Christy French, 214-379-3703