Wire transfer fraud is a crime involving attempts to obtain money or other assets fraudulently through wire money transfer, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Perpetrators may contact consumers requesting personal financial information, money transfer payments or help in making illegal financial transactions.
Scam artists have victims send money by wire transfer because it is difficult or impossible to cancel the transaction, trace the funds or locate the receiver, reports the Federal Trade Commission. For example, consumers may receive checks with instructions to cash them and wire part of the money to another location, but after the money is sent, the check turns out to be counterfeit. Some consumers receive notifications they have won lotteries or sweepstakes but must wire taxes or fees to collect their winnings. Others receive phone calls that grandchildren or other relatives are in trouble and are told to wire money immediately. Other wire transfer fraud schemes involve false telemarketing promises, warns the FBI.
To avoid becoming victims of wire transfer scams, consumers should never wire money to strangers or companies they cannot check out through other sources, advises the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Pressure to transfer money quickly is an indication of fraud. Consumers should beware of strangers instructing them to deposit checks into their checking accounts or wire money overseas for any reason. Consumers should never give out personal financial information in response to unsolicited phone calls, emails or advertisements.