Bank transfer scams are one of the most common forms of scam, and they actually predate the internet. They come in many permutations, which allows them to more easily snag victims. If you are looking to avoid bank transfer fraud, or if you’ve already been scammed via bank transfer, we have some helpful tips for you.
The Many Faces of Bank Transfer Fraud
One of the most well-known forms of bank transfer fraud is the classic “Nigerian Prince” or 419 scam. In this case, a member of royalty, a government official, or a wealthy business person needs your help transferring a large sum of money out of their country. They will give you a percentage in return, but you just need to help them out by wiring them some money for the transfer fees.
Classified ads, both online and offline, are a common target for bank transfer scams. If you are selling an item, you may find yourself approached by a buyer who wants to pay you with a check. When the check arrives, it is for more than the agreed-upon selling price. The buyer then either asks you to wire the extra back to them, or to wire it onto someone else (friend, relative, another seller). In either case, the check bounces after you have already wired the excess funds, and you are left covering the bounce checked fees on top of the money you wired!
Other money transfer scams target people who are shopping the classifieds. The item in question might be a used car for sale, or an apartment for rent. The seller requests to be paid via bank transfer. After you pay, they disappear without delivering the goods. Some unfortunate people have even shown up at the place they supposedly rented only to find it occupied by someone else who had no idea photos of their home had been used as an online scam!
These are just three of the many, many ways people have been scammed via bank transfer. Other versions include a fake secret shopper job, a money request from someone impersonating a family member or other loved one in need, and more.
How to Avoid Being Scammed Via Bank Transfer
The best way to avoid bank transfer scams is to learn the warning signs.
- Beware of anything that seems too good to be true
- Don’t accept checks from anyone you don’t know and trust
- Never agree to forward along excess funds
- Verify the identity of anyone contacting you for emergency funds
- If you feel weird about a situation, Google it! Many money transfer scams use the same template, and chances are, someone else has had the same experience and written about it online
What to Do if You Have Been Scammed
It can be embarrassing to fall victim to bank transfer fraud. If the amount lost was small, you may feel tempted to write it off as a stupid mistake. If the amount was large, you may feel despair. But don’t give up! There are ways to get your money back.
The first thing you should do is call the police. Tell them “I’ve been scammed through a bank transfer.” They’ll tell you what to do next. They may transfer you to the fraud department, or direct you to submit a report to a government agency.
Unfortunately, the police may not have the power to get your money back, especially if your scammer is in another country. They can just track instances of bank transfer fraud and warn the community.
The best remedy for victims of bank transfer scams is to contact Claim Justice. Our expert team knows how to get money back from scammers.