Scam Alert: Beware of Summer Vacation Fraudsters

Fraudsters are getting ready to ruin your summer vacation, warns money transfer company MoneyGram. Learn how you can spot them coming, and thwart their plans.

According to MoneyGram, two popular scams that involve money transfer are the ‘person in need scam’ and the ‘vacation rental scam.’

With the first, a scammer impersonating a friend or family member claims to need money due to an emergency, and needs for you to “wire” it to some distant locale. These scammers can often fool you using personal information they’ve found on social media sites.

Here’s how it works: a close friend or family member is off on vacation, and not easy to contact. Someone who claims to be helping your loved one contacts a bunch of email or social media contacts, claims your loved one is in need of help, and asks that you send money immediately.

As we said, the scammers often have a lot of details and information about your friend or family member, and are very good at convincing you that they actually know this person. So watch out!

In the ‘vacation rental scam,’ a fraudster posing as a property owner offers a vacation rental that seems perfect for your summer vacation. When you express a serious interest in the property, the “owner” insists that you pay for the rental up front, using money transfer.

When you arrive at the property for your dream vacation, you find out that the property was never actually for rent. The “owner,” it turns out, was nothing but a scammer who used a photo and description of someone else’s property to steal your money.

The company asks that you call their toll free number (1-800-MONEYGRAM) if you think that the MoneyGram system was used in a crime. But you should do more than that: protect your friends and family by alerting everyone you know whenever you believe you’ve come across one of these scams. You should also alert your state consumer protection authorities.

Try to shut down these scammers before they put a dismal end to anyone else’s summer vacation plans.


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