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MoneyGram Warns Consumers: Imposter Scams Are on the Rise

DALLAS, TX (Mar. 2, 2015) (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- As National Consumer Protection Week begins, MoneyGram (NASDAQ:MGI), a global money transfer and payment services company, is warning consumers about an increase in "imposter scams," or scams devised by fraudsters using fake identifications to get victims to send them money.

New data from the Federal Trade Commission shows imposter scams were the third most common consumer fraud complaint in 2014.

Fraudsters use many different methods to pull off an imposter scam. As part of its anti-fraud consumer education campaign, MoneyGram urges consumers to stay alert for some of these common scenarios.

Fake Government Employee

These imposters call and pretend that they are government employees and request that consumers send money to pay for taxes or other unpaid debt. Some may claim the consumer is eligible for a grant, but needs to pay fees first. Consumers who receive this call should hang up — the government will never ask for money or give money away over the telephone.

Winning Sweepstakes Email

These fraudsters claim the victim has won a prize but, in order to claim it, the consumer must pay for the shipping, taxes, or some other expense. Legitimate sweepstakes do not make people pay a fee or purchase something to enter or to improve chances of winning.

Relative in Need

These scam artists impersonate a loved one who is in trouble and needs money. Often they will tell the victim not to tell any other family members about their situation. When this happens, the victim should hang up and try to call the family member who is allegedly in trouble to verify the story.

"It's surprisingly easy for a scam artist to impersonate someone," says Kim Garner, MoneyGram's senior vice president of Global Security. "The imposters can be very convincing, and some even search social networking sites to find a victim's personal and family information in order to increase their chances of getting them to send money. While each of the imposter scenarios is different, they all end the same — with a request to wire money."

Consumers who think they may have been a victim of an imposter scam should file a police report, even if only a small amount of money was lost. Reporting a crime helps law enforcement spot trends and stay a step ahead of the criminals as well as the fast-changing fraud scenarios.

MoneyGram has 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.

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 350,000 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.

CONTACT: Media Contact: Michelle Buckalew media@moneygram.com 214-979-1418

Source:MoneyGram International, Inc.