Picture this scenario happening to you: You receive a request for a wire transfer from your bank account to someone who seems legit. The message appears to concern a real debt or perhaps a tax issue. You might feel some emotion, such as fear of consequences or an urgency to act. And you can take care of it quickly with a convenient transfer from your bank account. So, can you trust that this wire transfer will solve the issue?
Stop right there! Something called “digital money movement fraud” has become increasingly common these days, and there’s a good chance that the message you received came from a scammer.
Scammers have become adept at faking email addresses, so that their messages appear legitimate. But you should never wire money to any of the following people:
Any government agency asking for money (because they won’t contact you online)
A person who claims that your account has been compromised
People who ask you to send money to yourself (the money will be rerouted into their account instead)
Unverified cryptocurrency websites or salespeople (cryptocurrency is real, but there are many imitators too)
A telemarketer or email message asking you to make a purchase
Any stranger, for any reason (no matter how desperate or realistic their situation sounds)
Generally speaking, any story that elicits emotions from you, such as a fear of penalties or a desire to help someone down on their luck, should be viewed with suspicion. The same goes for false hope; get-rich-quick schemes that promise the world in exchange for a minimal investment are nearly always a scam.
When in doubt, call the person or agency who contacted you by email, and verify the story. In almost all cases you will find that the message did not originate from them, and you’ve just avoided a financial scam.
And if you have any other questions about keeping your assets secure, let’s discuss those at our next meeting.