Wire Fraud

MoneyBestPal Team
A type of fraud that uses electronic communications to deceive someone into sending money or property to the fraudster.
Image: Moneybestpal.com

Wire fraud is a type of fraud that uses electronic communications to deceive someone into sending money or property to the fraudster. The fraudster may pose as someone else, such as a friend, relative, business partner, or official from the government. A false sense of urgency or pressure may be created by the fraudster to persuade the victim to act immediately and without first checking the facts.

Wire fraud can take many forms, but some of the most common ones are:
  • Lottery or sweepstakes scams: The scammer says the victim has won a sizable sum of money or a priceless item, but must first pay a charge or taxes to collect it.
  • Romance scams: The scammer sets up a false online identity and develops a love relationship with the victim before requesting money for a variety of causes, such as trip costs, medical difficulties, or legal issues.
  • Business email compromise (BEC) scams: The fraudster gains access to or assumes the identity of a business or organization's legitimate email account and sends phony invoices or payment requests to the victim, who is typically a staff member, client, or supplier of the latter.
  • Charity scams: The fraudster sometimes takes advantage of a natural disaster, humanitarian crisis, or social cause to seek funds from the victim while posing as an official of a real or phony charity.
  • Tech support scams: The scammer calls the victim over the phone or online and presents themselves as a respected business or organization that offers technical support. After persuading the victim that their computer or other equipment is malfunctioning, the fraudster demands remote access to the gadget or money to repair it.

How to avoid wire fraud?

Wire fraud can be prevented by following some simple tips:
  • Responding to unsolicited emails, phone calls, texts, or messages that request personal or financial information, such as your bank account number, credit card number, Social Security number, passwords, or PINs, is not advised.
  • If you receive any questionable emails or texts, do not open any attachments or click on any links. They could include malware that can harm your computer or other device and steal your data.
  • Don't transfer cash or valuables to somebody you don't know well or who you don't trust. Before engaging in any transactions, confirm the validity and identity of the individual or company you are working with.
  • Avoid acting rashly or under duress. Before you make any judgments, take your time and do your research. Anything that seems too good to be true probably is.
  • Saying no should not be feared. Close the browser window, hang up the phone, or erase an email or message if you are uneasy or suspicious about a request or an offer.

How to report wire fraud?

If you believe you have been a victim of wire fraud or have encountered an attempt of wire fraud, you should report it as soon as possible to the following authorities:
  • The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at https://www.ic3.gov/ or 1-800-CALL-FBI (225-5324)
  • The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at https://www.ftc.gov/complaint/ or 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357)
  • Your local police department
  • Your bank or financial institution

Reporting wire fraud can aid in preventing the perpetrators from causing more harm and, if possible, aid in partial loss recovery. Anyone can be a victim of wire fraud, which is a serious and pervasive crime. Knowing how it operates and how to prevent it will help you keep yourself and your money safe from con artists.