The perfect puppy for a spouse, a car priced just right for your teenager. Sales and special offers typically increase during the holidays, and scammers are also poised to try to steal people’s hard-earned cash. Western Union and Better Business Bureau are equipping consumers with important tips to avoid falling for a scammer’s tricks when shopping for holiday gifts.
“Scam artists prey on consumers’ desire to make loved ones happy with special gifts during the holidays. They use this impulse to overcome the victim's reasoning, telling the victim that he or she must act quickly,” said Carrie Hurt, President and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. “Scam artists often sound so convincing that victims don't feel the need to check out their real qualifications. It’s always best to deal with established organizations. Rescue a puppy from a caring shelter or buy that car from a legitimate dealer.”
What else can consumers do? Visit BBB Scam Stopper (bbb.org/scam), a site launched by Western Union and BBB to help consumers reduce their chances of becoming a victim of a scam. Western Union and BBB also remind consumers never to send a money transfer to an individual you have not met in person.
“Money transfer is a great way to send money quickly and conveniently to friends and loved ones,” said Shelley Bernhardt, Director of Consumer Protection at Western Union. “However, it is not intended for use when doing business with someone you have not met face-to-face.”
It is particularly important to use caution when bidding on items using an online auction. Buyers are told the seller only accepts money transfers for payment. The “seller” tells the buyer to put the transaction in a fictitious name, falsely convincing the victim this protects their money until the goods or services are received. The “seller” retrieves the funds and the merchandise never arrives.
Much in the same way you shouldn’t send cash through the mail to a complete stranger, don’t use a money transfer service to pay for a product you haven’t seen, from an individual you have not met. For more information, you can also visit westernunion.com/stopfraud.
About Western Union
The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. As of September 30, 2013, the Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services were offered through a combined network of approximately 515,000 agent locations in 200 countries and territories and approximately 115,000 ATMs. In 2012, The Western Union Company completed 231 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $79 billion of principal between consumers, and 432 million business payments. For more information, visit westernunion.com.
For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2012, consumers turned to BBB 124 million times for Business Reviews on more than 4.5 million companies and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 113 local, independent BBBs across the United States and Canada, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution and industry self-regulation.