DALLAS, Texas (Dec. 1, 2014) (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As consumers search and surf for the best online deals this Cyber Monday, MoneyGram (Nasdaq MGI), a leading global money transfer company, is warning consumers to watch out for fraudsters hoping to steal money by offering fake online deals.
"Whether it's a cute puppy, a nice piece of jewelry or even a new car, consumers often turn to the web to find the best price with the fastest delivery option," says Kim Garner, MoneyGram's senior vice president of Global Security Investigations. "Fraudsters take advantage of this and offer these items at great prices, as long as payment is made through a money transfer. But after the transfer is sent, there is no puppy, no jewelry and no car, and the money cannot be replaced. All that remains is a very upset consumer, whose holiday has been ruined."
The internet purchase scam is consistently the top fraud complaint reported by U.S. consumers every year. Fraudsters know that the holiday season is a prime time to strike as an estimated 56 percent of holiday shoppers plan to do some or all of their shopping online.*
Garner emphasizes that consumers should never send money to someone they don't know or trust. Sending a money transfer is just like sending cash — once it is gone, it cannot be replaced.
But shoppers aren't the only people at risk. Fraudsters also take advantage of consumers' goodwill during the holidays. As legitimate charities increase their solicitations for donations during the season, many scammers devise fake charities to try to steal money. They solicit by phone, email and even social media.
"Before making a donation, consumers should do their homework to confirm that the charity is legitimate," Garner says. "If the charity asks for a donation by money transfer, that is a red flag and it's likely a scam. It's important for consumers to be alert to signs of possible fraud and report any suspected scam to the local police."
These tips and other consumer alerts are part of MoneyGram's holiday public awareness campaign, which stems from a larger company initiative to educate consumers about fraud and scams. Since mid-2010, MoneyGram has helped prevent hundreds of millions of dollars in suspected fraudulent activity globally. The company has also taken a leadership position in consumer fraud education and is the founding member of the Scam Awareness Alliance, a nonprofit organization that provides information about scams. Consumers can learn more at scamawareness.org.
*National Retail Federation 2014 survey
About MoneyGram International, Inc.
MoneyGram, a leading money transfer company, provides essential services to consumers who are not fully served by traditional financial institutions. MoneyGram offers worldwide money transfer services in more than 200 countries and territories through a global network of 347,000 agent locations, including retailers, international post offices and banks. MoneyGram also offers bill payment services, issues money orders and processes official checks in select markets.
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Source:MoneyGram International, Inc.