Someone Wants to Send You Money? It's Likely a Scam.
So, someone wants to send you money? Maybe someone reached out to you via phone, text or email claiming that you won a prize, they’re going to wire you money or you are the beneficiary for your family members. Everyone wants “free” money, but often these messages or notifications are scams. Learn more about what you can do to protect yourself from these types of scams.
Different Types of Money Scams
There are several reasons why you may receive a message saying someone wants to send you money. The scammer will usually ask you to enter your bank account information. This will give them access to your account and the ability to steal your money.
Watch out for the following types of money scams:
Wife Transfer Fraud: In this case, the scammer will say they plan to wire you money, usually from another country. To transfer the money, they will need access to bank account information. This is designed to trick you into handing your information over. Once you do, the scammers can take your money.
Money Mule Scams: These scams are usually done as a way of laundering money (the processes of making money obtained through illegal means appear to have come from a legal or legitimate source). Scammers say they are going to send you money so that you can send it to someone else. In other cases, they may offer to send you money as part of a job, winning the lottery or some other giveaway. You should never have to pay processing fees or some other debt to collect a prize or take a job. These scams can move funds in various ways and may include gift cards, credit cards and other prepaid items. The person may even send you a fake check, but once you deposit it, the money may disappear from your account. Never take money from someone you don’t recognize.
Mail Scams: Some scammers will send mail telling you that you’ve won a prize, owe money or need to wire someone money. Others may try to get you to sign up for a credit card or lottery system. It’s best to throw the mail in the trash and not contact or respond to the scammer.
Elderly Scam: Unfortunately, far too many people will try to take advantage of the elderly and their loved ones. The scammer may call or message you, claiming that a loved one has passed away and that you are set to inherit their money. In other cases, they may claim that a loved one owes back taxes or some other debt. Others may pretend to work with a nursing agency, Medicaid or the Social Security Administration.
Again, do not share your personal information or those of your loved ones. Hang up or flag the message as spam and contact the office, business or agency directly for more information.
What to Do If Someone Wants to Send You Money
The good news is that you may not be in trouble as long as you don’t respond to the message. Some messages may contain spam or malware, so you’re better off not opening messages or emails from unknown senders, especially if the message uses the following phrasing:
- You’re a winner.
If you do receive a message from someone saying they want to send you money, the first step is to report the message or phone call to the authorities. You can also visit the Federal Trade Commission to see if someone else has received a similar message. Your phone or email service may also have a spam feature. Flag these messages as spam, so the app knows to automatically delete them in the future.
If you see a suspicious purchase or deposit in your financial accounts, report it immediately. Do not spend the money or transfer it to another account.
If the person continues to call or text you, block the number and/or report it to the National Do Not Call Registry.
It’s always best to err on the side of caution when receiving these kinds of messages. It may be tempting to respond in hopes of winning the lottery or getting a check, but it usually means exposing your personal information.