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How to Avoid Becoming a Victim of a Wire Transfer Scam

Look Out For These Red Flags

You can be targeted by scammers using fake emails, texts, voice calls, letters, or even showing up at your door unexpectedly. A scam may use any technique, but here are some red flags you should look out for:

  • Pressure is placed on you to act immediately
  • There is a threat of law enforcement or government action against you
  • You are instructed to purchase gift cards and provide codes as payment
  • You are prompted to open a new checking account or to deposit a check from someone unknown to you, and then wire some or all of the money back out into another account owned by the scammer
  • You are prepared to wire money for a large purchase and the recipient’s wire information changes at the last minute 

Make Sure Your Money Is Protected (Before You Wire It)

Many convenient methods are available for sending money to people you are familiar with. Our attorneys can’t always help you get your money back if you’ve authorized a transfer or sent money to a scammer. For this reason, we recommend that you talk with one of the attorneys of Gay and Chacker before transferring money or wiring funds. The following steps can help you reduce your risk of falling victim to scams:

  • Make sure wire instructions are validated. Ensure your wire recipient’s phone number is one you have independently verified
  • Take a second look at every request for funds. Confirm that the sender represents a real company or service by checking the sender’s email address.
  • Neither individuals nor businesses you are not familiar with should be trusted. Make sure they are who they claim to be, and don’t send money or sensitive information to anyone whose identity you cannot verify

Familiarize Yourself With Potential Scams

In order to lure victims into their schemes, scammers use a variety of unethical tactics. It is not uncommon for them to seem friendly, compassionate, and overly willing to help you in some cases. Other times, they use fear tactics to convince their victims. Some scammers may send deceptive email or text messages to steal your personal and financial information. These are not an exhaustive list, but some messages may look like these:

  • Check cashing scam: “Hello (your name), I am in trouble, can you help me cash a check?”
  • Fake goods scam: “These goods are available to you at a considerably lower price than they would be at retail.”
  • Rental property scam: “Thanks for receiving my rental deposit. I was wondering when I could move in.”
  • Overpayment scam: “Go ahead and deposit the check and wire the difference to the account number attached.”
  • Student loan scam: “The security of your student loan is at risk: Verify your information and validate it by clicking this link.”
  • Debt relief scam: “Our debt reduction or elimination services can help you.”
  • Compromised Email scam: “Your purchase transfer details have changed. Here is the account where the funds should be sent.”
  • Imposter scam: “You’re facing a lawsuit or lien for non-payment of back taxes from the IRS.”
  • Investment scam: “You recently requested information on our investment program. Are you ready to make a big return on investment?”
  • Malware scam: “Your computer has been infected with malware, let’s get this fixed right away.”
  • Charity scam: “Thank you for taking the time to hear from me. I hope you will consider donating to help fund our local (police department, homeless shelter, park, etc.)”

Avoid Scams By Knowing The Best Ways To Protect Yourself

  • Do not respond if you are uncertain of who’s calling you, emailing you, or messaging you: Hang up the phone, do not click email links, and do not reply to the text.
  • The caller ID may look familiar, but if it seems suspicious, hang up. Be wary of unknown callers and don’t trust caller ID. The number and caller ID of a legitimate phone number can easily be manipulated to appear genuine.
  • Unless you know the person and the reason for asking, never give out any personal identifying information. 
  • You can check the legitimacy of the request by contacting the organization through an official number posted on their trusted website, or the Better Business Bureau if the request seems suspicious.

 

How Can Gay & Chacker Help?

The increase in remote work has led to an inflection of wire transfer fraud and other hacking.  In the event of an attack, individuals and businesses should educate themselves about cybersecurity and find out what legal recourse they have. If you have been victimized by wire transfer fraud, contact the Philadelphia, Pa attorneys of Gay and Chacker at 215-323-5185 or fill out the contact form below to discuss your case.

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