Looking back over the different types of fraud and scams I’ve been covering these past few months (and the ones I’m going to cover soon), I can’t help but notice that an inordinate amount of them involve wiring money.
Mystery Shopper Scams: the victim wires money to the thief.
Grandparent Telephone Scam: the victim wires money to the thief.
Craigslist Overpayment Scam: the victim wires money to the thief.
Job Interview Scam: the victim wires money to the thief.
Lottery Scam: the victim wires money to the thief.
So this has me thinking…what is the deal with wiring money? There just seems to be an aroma of seediness around the whole industry.
I’m not trying to throw Western Union under the bus here. I know the vast majority of people are using it and similar services for legitimate reasons, but still. Why is it so easy to commit crimes using money-wiring services, and could providers do anything to make it less so?
In all honesty, probably not. The crook is the one committing a crime. The victim is just wiring money, which you can pretty much do at will. It’s not a crime to fall for a scam. Limiting users’ ability to wire funds would just create extra hassle for customers and drive down business.
So that means it’s on you to not become a victim in the first place. Be knowledgeable about different types of scams. Most of all, just think before you act.
For example, I can’t think of a single legitimate case in which someone would mail you a cashier’s check and ask you to cash it, then wire money back to them. If someone is telling you to do this, it is a scam. 100% of the time. Just take that as a general rule, and you’ll reduce your chances of becoming a victim.