Dec 242014

Money transfer scams are very common these days. Almost everyone who has an email address receives emails claiming that the recipient has won a lottery worth $1000000 or something or that this amount has no heir and would be transferred to the recipient of the email. Such phishing cases have only increased with time and the common people unaware of the tricks fall into the traps of the scammers.

Free MoneySome people lose their savings while others lose their living by believing in these tricksters. These days, due to the availability of more channels of communication, they have begun using all channels possible to find their prey. I have received such messages on social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn as well. One should only approve requests for connection or inclusion into one’s network for known people.

To avoid being a victim of money transfer scams, we should totally avoid any email, message or notification that suggests that we are being awarded money; remember that money is earned, nobody gives it to you just like that. Secondly, report any suspicious persons or messages wherever possible. If such an email is in your inbox for example, report it as spam and block the email addresses that send these emails.

The leading money transfer operators like MoneyGram and Western Union are often used by scammers to fulfil their purpose. One must be careful never to send money to anyone except when the recipient is known and the purpose is apparent.

Dec 062014

Becky KASPICK wrote:

I recently sent money online thru Ria Money Transfer to Ghana because there is no close agent available in my area. My transfer went under review because it was being sent to Ghana. I had a very close friend who traveled to Ghana and in the need of money so I thought this was the best way to go.

After Ria reviewed my transfer, it was declined and I had to wait 3 business days for the return of my money which caused me a great inconvenience. I also helped a friend of mine that her sister in Spain wanted her to send some money for Xmas by using Ria. My friend does not have a computer and did not understand how to send the money so I helped her. The transfer went under review and again was denied. She has to wait 3-5 business days for the return of her money.

Ria Customer ServiceThis is totally inappropriate. Not only did they make a poor decision to decline this, but it is again very inconvenient to tie up the return of her money. If they advertise to send money all over the world, then why do they deny all transactions and what gives them the right to decide to whom I can send money to. I knew thes people and I was declined.

I know many people in Ghana and Ria has blocked me from never sending money to Ghana again. I feel this is discrimination against me and them. What gives them this right to make a decision like this?


Dear Becky, thanks for writing to us.

I won’t advocate for them, nor would I say they are completely wrong. But I was surprised to hear that they blocked a transfer to Spain. When we speak about Ghana and money transfer, it is understood, because many scams have been traced back to Ghana and other African nations. One should always be careful while dealing with an unknown party in such countries. The decision to block maybe for security and to avoid scams, but I agree, they should not be blocking money transfers totally.

I am not sure why the transaction was declined for transfer to Spain, you should probably find that out by contacting the customer service team at +1-562-345-2100 or by filling the form here. You should ask for the specific reason for the decline of money transfer to Spain. I am sure they must have blocked/declined the transaction for some reason/misunderstanding. Finding that out would make things clear; whether it was a misunderstanding or they are actually discriminating.

And if they still block transfers to Ghana, you have many other money transfer services that transfer money to Ghana, you can choose one of them.

Jan 262014

By Mohammed Waseem

In our time where technology is improving and everything is advancing, so are the tricks of scammers. In this article, I will focus on MoneyGram scams in the USA.

Earlier in January 2014, MoneyGram warned their customers about new scams and advised them to look out for new fraud schemes in the New Year. Wall Street Journal reported that the newest scheme was targeted at Instagram users where they were asked to send amounts between $100 and $200 as an investment and were told that this amount would multiply tenfold in a short time. When the users sent money, both the scammer and the money disappeared. They also warned about fraud schemes involving work from home offers, etc.

Money Transfer ScamA woman reported that she received a call and the voice on the other end said “Hi Grandma!” she thought it was her grandson. He asked her to send $4500 immediately by MoneyGram as he was in need. She did this and later realized that it was a scam. When people share their vacation pictures on social media, scammers misuse the situation and contact their family members asking for money.

Other than this, scammers also target email users with different domains with a similar story. They find out where the user lives and offer an investment opportunity in their area or even a business partnership. They say that they are unable to travel to their country due to their busy schedule and want the user to take care of operations in their area. When the user responds, they finally ask them to send some money towards registration charges or something and disappear with the money.

The US Postal Service said in a press release that MoneyGram willingly closed its eyes for years to the blatant scams being carried out right under its nose and also collected fees for each fraudulent transaction. They said that the fraudsters were pursued and prosecuted by a small number of postal inspectors in Pennsylvania and no effort was made by MoneyGram. The postal service sent out thousands of checks amounting to $46 million towards reimbursement to the scam victims across the US who were scammed between 2004 and 2009.

US Postal inspectors also reported that corrupt MoneyGram agents converted many money transfers into cash while maintaining the anonymity of the scammers and as a result, MoneyGram profited from these transactions. Wear TV reports that MoneyGram has agreed to pay $100 million towards reimbursements for its role in the scam between 2004 and 2009.

Readers are advised to be careful and to avoid sending money to strangers for whatever reason, until they know the person and are sure about safety of their money. Many have lost thousands of dollars, their life savings and also their homes in MoneyGram scams in the past and you do not want to be the next. So, confirm and reconfirm the identity of the person you are sending the money to. You may hear an offer that sounds good to the ears but may put all you have at stake, so beware.

Nov 082012

By W.H.A.|

I received the following question today:


Hello. I’m selling an item but the buyer’s payment (made through Paypal) is on hold until I pay the shipper’s fee. Is there any way that a payment on hold from Paypal for a reason of payment to a shipping agent can be released?

Can Paypal and my local Western Union get together to complete the payment without the seller getting ahold of funds? I have a $2,850 payment on hold because buyer wanted me to pay shipping agent $900.00 and then I would get credited with the money after said transfer. I am unable to get funds so I want Paypal to send it to a Western Union and take care of it that way.. is that possible?

– Patrick


Cargo ship.

Shipping agent fee?

Patrick, you are being scammed. There is in fact no $2,850 payment on hold, and the “shipping agent” is fake. If you make that payment to the shipping agent, the “buyer” will disappear, and you will receive nothing.

This is a fairly new type of scam that almost always involves Paypal and Western Union. A “buyer” contacts you, expressing interest in some expensive item you are selling – often something you’ve advertised on Craigslist. The catch is that the buyer has his own shipping agent who will pick up the item, and you must pay the shipper.

The buyer claims to have deposited the funds in an escrow account, or in your case Patrick, he claims to have paid through Paypal but the funds are “on hold” until the shipper’s fee is paid. The scammer might send you a fake Paypal notification email, indicating that funds have been received in your account, or explaining why the funds are on hold. You are asked to pay the shipping agent by Western Union.

In reality, the shipping agent’s fee itself is the scam. The scammer takes that money and splits, paying you nothing.

See Woody Leonhard’s investigation of this type of scam here:

New “419” scam involves Paypal and Western Union

I’m glad you wrote to me before paying anything! Take care.

– W.H.A.