Financial tips and money-saving advice from USU Credit Union

Protect Yourself from Wire-Transfer Fraud

May 24, 2024

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In today’s digital age, financial fraud is an ever-present threat. It’s crucial to stay vigilant and recognize the red flags of fraudulent activity, especially when dealing with wire transfers. Once a wire transfer is sent, the funds are unrecoverable, making it essential to double-check the details and rethink your decision if any of the following scenarios apply to you:

Common Signs of Fraudulent Activity

Misrepresentation Requests: If you are being told to misrepresent the reason for the wire, it is most likely fraud. Be honest about the purpose of your transaction.

False Relationship Claims: If you are being instructed to change, invent, or exaggerate your relationship to the recipient, it is most likely fraud. Authentic transactions do not require false pretenses.

Threats and Coercion: If you or a loved one are being threatened with harm, or are facing startling legal or criminal action threats, it is most likely fraud. Legitimate entities do not use intimidation tactics.

Secrecy Requests: If you have been told to lie or withhold information from your credit union regarding this wire, it is most likely fraud. Transparency is key in all financial transactions.

Unknown Third Parties: If you are being told to send funds to a third party who is unknown to you, even if you have been assured that the funds will be transferred to the intended recipient, it is most likely fraud. Only send money to people or businesses you know and trust.

Changed Instructions: If the destination or wire instructions have changed suddenly, it is most likely fraud. Always verify any changes directly with the recipient.

Uninitiated Transactions: If you were not the one to initiate this transaction or if you did not initiate the original contact with the requestor, it is most likely fraud. Be cautious of unsolicited requests for money.

Sweepstakes or Lottery Winnings: If you are being told to send funds to receive winnings from a sweepstakes or lottery, it is most likely fraud. Legitimate lotteries do not require payment to claim a prize.

Virtual Relationships: If you have never met the recipient in person and the reason for the wire is personal in nature, it is most likely fraud. Be wary of sending money to online acquaintances or romantic interests you haven’t met.

Missing Invoices: If you are sending funds for a business transaction but have not received an invoice, it is most likely fraud. Always request and review invoices before making payments.

Separate Shipping Payments: If you have been asked to pay separately for the shipment of a vehicle you are purchasing, it is most likely fraud. Ensure all costs are included in the original transaction.

Urgent Family Situations: If you are sending funds due to shocking recent news that a loved one is in danger, it is most likely fraud. Verify the situation directly with other family members or trusted contacts.

Unexpected Deposits: If you have recently received an unexpected deposit that you have been instructed to wire back to someone, it is most likely fraud. Confirm the source of the deposit before taking any action.

Stay Vigilant and Protect Your Finances

By staying alert to these warning signs and verifying the details of any wire transfer request, you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of financial fraud. Always trust your instincts and, when in doubt, consult with the Goldenwest Fraud Department or any Credit Union branch manager before proceeding with any transactions. Remember, it’s better to be safe and double-check than to fall prey to fraudulent schemes.

Protecting our members’ financial well-being is among our highest priorities. If you have questions about the legitimacy of a wire transfer request, please contact Goldenwest Credit Union at 800-283-4550 to discuss your specific question or concern.


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