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Common Fraud Types

Fraudsters are using the internet, the mail, and the telephone in many ways to try to make you fall victim to ‎their schemes. It’s important to remember that fraudsters are clever at gaining your trust ‎and gathering your personal information.

At Western Union, we want to help you recognize the many ways they attempt to gain access to your personal information and money. Below is a list of common fraud schemes you should watch out for.

Advance Fee / Prepayment
In this type of fraud the victim sends money to the fraudster in advance of receiving a ‎certain product or service. The fraudster might ask the victim for a small fee in advance ‎to open a new credit card or to secure a loan. Some examples of this type of fraud are ‎credit cards, loans, investments, etc.‎

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Mystery Shopping
There are multiple ways this type of fraud can occur. For this example we will use one ‎of the most common.

Fraudsters contact victims through employment websites and ask them to evaluate the ‎Western Union Money Transfer‎®‎ service. The fraudster sends the victim a check and ‎instructs them to deposit the check and use the funds to send a money transfer. The ‎victim sends the money transfer and the fraudster picks it up and when the check ‎bounces the victim is left responsible. ‎

Visit www.consumerfed.org/fraud

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Overpayment
A common fraud in which the victim is sent a check in payment of a service or product ‎that appears to be valid, but will eventually bounce. Typically the amount of the check ‎exceeds what the victim expects to receive and he or she is instructed to send the ‎excess to the fraudster. When the check bounces the victim is left responsible.‎

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Employment
The fraudster will send a check to the victim who has accepted a job. The check can be ‎for multiple reasons such as a signing bonus, supplies, etc. The victim will be instructed ‎to deposit the check and use the money for any of these reasons and then instructed to ‎send the remaining funds to the fraudster. The check will bounce and the victim is left ‎responsible.‎

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Lottery / Prize
Victims are informed through an unsolicited communication they have won a large ‎lottery prize or sweepstakes. The victim receives a check for part of the winnings from ‎the fraudster and is told to pay a small amount to cover taxes and/or processing fees. ‎The victim uses the check to pay for the taxes or processing fees and is left responsible ‎for the bounced check.‎

Visit www.consumerfed.org/fraud

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Rental Property
Fraudsters advertise a rental property usually at a considerable discount. This allows ‎the fraudster to receive as many replies or inquiries as possible. The fraudster goes to ‎great lengths to make this property look as legitimate as possible and might include ‎pictures, floor plans, etc. To make sure you express an interest in the property the ‎fraudster will ask you to send money for a deposit, verify funds, or other legitimate ‎sounding reasons.‎

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Emergency Funds
This fraud usually occurs in two ways. Fraudsters will either make you believe they are ‎someone you know or acting on behalf of someone you know. The fraud is based on you ‎sending money for an urgent situation or emergency. The fraudster will create a story ‎such as the need for bail, fines, medical expenses, etc. The fraudster may also use ‎social media sites to further this type of fraud.‎

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Grandparent This fraud is based on the Emergency Funds fraud. The fraudster will contact ‎grandparents and impersonate either their grandchildren or a person of authority such ‎as law enforcement, medical professional or attorney. The fraudster describes an urgent ‎situation or emergency that requires money to be sent immediately.‎

Visit www.consumerfed.org/fraud

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Internet Purchases
Victims are told to send money for a product, auction item or service to the seller. The ‎fraudster will use a number of tactics to make you believe they are legitimate, but once ‎the victim sends the money they will not receive the purchased item or service.‎

Visit www.consumerfed.org/fraud

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Relationship
Fraudsters will create a fake relationship with the victim who believes it’s real, perhaps ‎through online communication. At some point the fraudster will request money for a ‎number of reasons such as travel, medical, etc. In the end the fraudster is only ‎attempting to gain funds and not a relationship.‎

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Fake Checks
Fake checks are used for many of the frauds explained in this section. These checks ‎can be used for employment expenses, internet purchases, mystery shopping, etc. ‎Remember not to use funds from a check deposited in your account until it officially ‎clears which can take weeks.‎

Visit www.fakechecks.org

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Fraud Hotline
If you believe you may be a victom of fraud, call the Western Union Fraud Hotline number at:
1-800-448-1492


Forward any suspicious emails to:
spoof@westernunion.com


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