A common theme in many scams, including phony lottery scams and the infamous grandparent scam, is that the scammers will require the victim to wire money rather than use a credit card or a check.  Once money has been wired, it is all but impossible to trace or stop payment.  In response to this problem, state attorneys general from around the country have been investigating the role played by MoneyGram Payments Services, Inc. a wire transfer service in these scams.  Now an agreement has been reached between MoneyGram and 49 of the states’ attorneys general to settle this matter.  Pursuant to the settlement, MoneyGram agrees to maintain an anti-fraud program that includes better training of its agents to recognize scams, and enhancement of MoneyGram’s Anti-Fraud Alert System technology.   MoneyGram has also agreed to provide 9 million dollars in restitution to eligible customers who had previously filed complaints with MoneyGram in regard to money wired through them to overseas scammers between July 1, 2008 and August 31, 2009.  When fully implemented, the new anti-fraud program at MoneyGram should significantly reduce the number of scam victims.

TIPS

Whenever anyone you are dealing with requests that payment be made by way of a wire transfer, you should immediately be skeptical because of the near impossibility of getting your money back if the deal is a scam or anything goes wrong.  Using a credit card for payment is much safer.

If you believe that you are eligible for restitution through this settlement, you can click on this link for precise information about applying for a payment.

http://www.moneygramsettlement.com/

It is also important to remember that scammers will try to take advantage of the news of this settlement and may contact people by phone or email indicating that they represent the Settlement Administrator or the states’ attorneys general and that they need personal financial information from you in order to process your claim.  Neither the Settlement Administrator nor the states’ attorneys general will be contacting people regarding this settlement asking for personal information.