Unveiling the Truth: Money Transfer Scams Exposed – Protect Yourself and Finances

You don’t have to wait a long time to get your money transferred from one account to another. With the help of smartphones and internet connectivity, you can transfer your money very quickly.

There was a time when you had to wait at least a week to get your money transferred from one bank to another; however, now the same amount gets transferred instantaneously.

The transition to a cashless world is being made gradually but definitely. There are a lot of transactions taking place without physical money. It won’t be long before such physical money is only available at a museum for people to view.

Regardless of how much we evolve, scammers are there to remind us that it’s easier to steal money online than get mugged on the subway.

Since roughly all the transactions are carried out online using a smartphone, it has become necessary for us to take measures to protect our finances from potential scammers. As per a report, in 2022 alone, more than $8.8 billion was lost in online money transfer scams, compared to $6.2 billion in 2021.

In this article, we will educate you on how to take steps so that you can spot a potential scam and not fall for it.

E-mail scam :

Scammers will send emails to entice their victims under the false pretext that they can expect huge sums of money in return for some “transactional fees.” In reality, these scammers have nothing to offer. These victims send in some money in hopes of getting huge amounts of free money. Different types of email scams target their victims’ wallets.

Lottery and sweepstakes: Scammers will send fake emails to their intended victims regarding a life-changing opportunity. The message in the email states that they have won a lottery or sweepstakes, and you can claim the money; however, there are a few details that are required before claiming the winning amount to ensure that you are indeed the intended winner. They will ask you for a token amount to be sent as a processing fee before you can claim the amount.

You also need to react quickly; otherwise, these winnings would be given to the next-in-line winner.

Phishing: The email sent by scammers will have a link in it. These emails may impersonate utility and gas subscribers, Netflix and other entertainment-provider subscriptions, and so forth. The body of the email will prompt necessary action ranging from “avoid disconnections” to “claim excess money paid earlier.” Once you click on the link, a web page opens up that will look authentic. The victim is prompted to fill in details such as SSN, date of birth, bank account number, and other sensitive details.

Inheritance of wealth: You might receive an email from an attorney regarding their client, who is filthy rich but now, due to old age, has passed away. However, as per the instruction, you are required to send in your sensitive details to “verify” if the person that their client has referred is you.

Online dating apps :

We live in a world where we do not have enough time to interact with others, not even to have a romantic relationship. As smartphones get smarter, there are several social media platforms and apps that help us interact with each other.

Scammers will attract their victims by impersonating a young, dynamic, and highly successful businessperson. These scammers will have a photo of a young person as their digital portrait or account photo.

They will then target some random person and make them the victim of their devious scheme. These “dangerous dates” will follow several time-tested methods to rip off their victims. These dates are usually a flight or two away from their victims’ residential areas. They convince their victims that they have been waiting for their sole mate, and that special person is that victim.

Now comes the interesting part.

Financial advisor: After being head-over-heels, these scammers will then start to divert their topic from romance to talking seriously about making huge money. Slowly but steadily, these scammers will divert their talk to pure finance. They will “guide” their love of the internet to invest in various schemes or even ask them to invest in cryptos. As time progresses, the talk is now only about finance.

Since crypto is heading the headlines and most lack the necessary awareness regarding its operation, many scammers will persuade their victims into buying crypto and then diverting those cryptos into their crypto accounts.

Military personnel: This type of impersonation has two options. First, since they are operating overseas and cannot access their bank, they need your money to pay for their daily activities.

Second, these alleged “soldiers of freedom” have uncovered a lot of wealth and wish to share it with you, but they need your money to transfer it to your country.

The hapless victim: The romance talk is going fine until these scammers start playing the victim card. They will need money from the victims since the local ganglord has confiscated their wealth and they need money to escape from the country.

Life-threatening accident: It just so happens that they convince their victims that they have been involved in an accident, and the scammer’s friend contacts these victims and demands money to save their lives. A lot of money is required to ensure that the love interest survives. The demand for money never stops.

Showering gifts: Some scammers will compel their victims into buying expensive gifts and send them across to the scammer. They may also ask them to buy gift cards or cryptos or simply transfer money directly into the scammer’s bank account through wire transfer.

Shopping scam :

There are two ways that these scams are carried out: first, they impersonate a seller, and second, they impersonate a buyer.

Seller impersonation: The scammer will create a website that has a lot of branded stuff sold at a competitive price. Right from branded perfumes to handbags to real estate. Many flock to their websites only to lose their money and get nothing in return.

Some scammers will also sell a special liquid that will blacken the fiat currency, and another liquid will wash away the blacked fiat currency, bringing it back to its original state. It is a scam since they apply Vaseline to the currency and apply shoe polish on it, thus giving it a blacked-out appearance, and by simply washing it under running tap water, the polish gets removed, revealing the currency.

Buyer impersonation: Scammers will impersonate a buyer and offer to pay for the freight or shipment. They will buy the product using a credit card, and once the shipment has left for its destination, they will change their destination address. They will then complain to the seller about not receiving the shipment and ask for a refund. These scammers will then keep the product, and the seller loses the product as well as the money they charged for the product.

In another scenario, the scammers will overpay the seller by using a credit card and asking to pay the excess amount. The seller will pay the excess amount, and the scammer will ask for a chargeback from their credit card provider, thus cheating the seller.

Fake charity foundation :

Scammers create a fake charity foundation website during any natural calamity, taking advantage of many who, in good faith, try to help those in need. We recently witnessed many such scams during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Ukrainian president asked for help through cryptos, and many did come to aid his country. Nonetheless, scammers saw a golden opportunity and created fake websites to accept crypto aid meant for Ukraine.

On normal days, scammers will set up a website to help Christian missionaries. Such websites are scams, as the money donated for these Christian missionaries directly goes to the scammer’s account.

Now that we have seen how scammers pull off such scams, we will now check for the obvious red flags that are involved so that you can detect them should potential scammers try to pull a fast one on you.

  • Scammers prefer to handle everything over emails or phone calls.
  • Scammers have poor written English; they may also commit punctuation and grammatical errors. They also speak broken English.
  • They are in constant need of money and show an unusual urgency to transfer money to their account.
  • They mostly prefer wire transfers. Such a transfer will ensure that the recipient’s address is never disclosed.
  • When they answer your email, they will usually send it from a different email account.
  • They will want to shift their “private chat” with you to Whatsapp rather than using a dating app.
  • They prefer that you not talk to anyone about your relationship with them.

Tips to avoid falling victim to a wire transfer scam

  • Avoid revealing all your details online to a person you have just met.
  • Avoid sending money to someone that you have just met online.
  • Refrain from sending a huge amount of money in a single transfer; try sending it bit by bit.
  • Avoid clicking on a suspicious-looking website.
  • No matter how the deal looks attractive, it is better to shop online from a reputed and trusted website.
  • Refrain from downloading any suspicious-looking links or other software.
  • Refrain from dealing with any seller who does not allow a credit card facility as a mode of payment.
  • Refrain from entertaining any calls or texts regarding charity or donations.
  • Never fall prey to some philanthropist who has died, and now their attorney wants your details just to verify that you are the one who is inheriting the wealth.
  • Last but not least, if you have not participated in a sweepstake or bought a lottery ticket, you can never win the winnings claimed by the message, text, or email you receive.

Final thoughts :

It has become a common phenomenon for scammers to rip off their victims. What is more alarming is that after ripping off the victim, the details can be found on the dark web and can fall prey to future identity theft victims. Therefore, you should use caution while dealing with anyone that you have met online.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *