Love May Be Blind, But MoneyGram Recommends Keeping Eyes Wide Open To Avoid Risk of Romance Scam

January 17, 2012
Love May Be Blind, But MoneyGram Recommends Keeping Eyes Wide Open To Avoid Risk of Romance Scam

DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 17, 2012-- While romance may be in the air around Valentine’s Day, some consumers seeking a heart full of love through an online relationship may instead find themselves with a bank account empty of funds.

According to MoneyGram (NYSE: MGI), a leading global money transfer company, romance scams – where a fraudster displays romantic intentions as a way to access an individual’s finances – rank near the top of financial frauds committed every year. In fact, romance scams are estimated to defraud victims of upwards of $10,000 for each occurrence.

Kim Garner, Senior Vice President of Global Security and Investigations with MoneyGram, advises consumers to look beyond the red hearts and roses of Valentine’s Day to ensure they stay alert to the red flags that may indicate a budding relationship is veering into fraudulent territory:

  1. The online match doesn’t match: If a picture looks too good to be true, it may be just that – too good to be true. When entering an online dating relationship, listen for clues – such as personal details about age, height, weight, and geographic location – that don’t match the photo and information in the online profile.
  2. The budding romance is turning into a speed date: As the 1970s pop song asserted, love takes time, so if the online companion is professing instant love, or sending intimate messages and gifts too quickly, it might be a sign the relationship isn’t headed in a legitimate direction.
  3. The relationship is a one-way love affair: Any budding relationship should be a give-and-take proposition, so if the communication is all incoming with no way to get in touch with the individual on the other end of the computer, stop and ask yourself if this is a red flag.
  4. It’s hard to tell if the romance is for love or money: Any time an online relationship includes a request for funds or access to financial information – for gifts, a sick relative, or a plane ticket to meet each other – stop the conversation before any money changes hands.
  5. The love affair becomes a roller coaster ride: If contact with the online companion is up and down or inconsistent, it may indicate a fraudster who is attempting to build trust with a number of individuals at one time, so re-consider if the relationship is real.

“Any time someone asks for money before they’ve met in person or developed an honest, long-term relationship, it’s typically a warning sign that something isn’t right,” said Garner of MoneyGram. “Fraudsters are good at what they do, so make sure love truly is in the air before money is going somewhere across the country or the world.”

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 should:

  • 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 256,000 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 visit http://www.moneygram.com or connect with us on Facebook.

Source: MoneyGram International

for MoneyGram International
Christy French, 214-379-3703
Christy.french@mm2pr.com

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