Watch out for scammers “looking for love”

As millions of people prepare to celebrate the most romantic day of the year, MoneyGram is warning consumers to watch out for scam artists who claim to be “looking for love.”

The scammers scout dating sites, chat rooms, blogs and social media networks to lure their victims into forming a relationship. They usually claim to be traveling or working abroad. In reality, they often live overseas. They usually target men and women who are divorced, widowed, and/or disabled.

“The scams typically begin online, with the scammer quickly professing love for the victim,” says Kim Garner, senior vice president of global security at MoneyGram. “After winning the victim’s trust, the scammer will ask the victim to send money through a wire transfer – claiming the need for some type of emergency, custom or duty fees, or even for travel costs to finally meet the unsuspecting victim. Once the victim wires the money, they never hear from the scammer again.”

Warning Signs:

• Online conversations filled with spelling and grammatical errors

• Profile photo does not match alleged age or ethnicity of individual

• Person refuses to provide contact information or claims not to own a phone

• “Relationship” moves really fast

• The topic of money comes up quickly

“Pay attention to the warning signs, and push back if you suspect a scam,” says Garner. “Listen to your instincts, and never send money to someone you don’t know or who you have never met in person.”

MoneyGram advises consumers to keep their hard-earned pounds in their own pockets by following the three Rs – recognize, react, and report.

• Recognize: Savvy consumers should look for red flags when someone asks them to send money through a wire service or money order, because scammers often request these methods knowing that once the money is sent, it cannot be retrieved.

• React: When they identify a scam, consumers should immediately put an end to any transaction or conversation – hang up the phone, delete the email, or end the back-and-forth messaging.

• Report: Report the suspected scam to the local police, Or Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040

If consumers believe MoneyGram was used to transfer the money, they should call 0800 026 0535. Since mid- 2010 MoneyGram has helped prevent millions of pounds in suspected fraud activity globally. Don’t be the next victim!

Post published in: Africa News

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