Recent Scam Reveals New Money Transfer Method Used By Criminals

Many frauds and scams end up end up with the victim making a money transfer into an account overseas, often via a 3rd party such as Western Union.

People are becoming more alert to the risks of money transfer.  Consumer programmes have often presented cases where someone made a genuine mistake with a single digit in the account number or sort code when transferring money to a UK bank account, and found it very difficult to get their money back.  When the money goes overseas there is even less chance of retrieving it.  You also do not have the same protection that you have when you use a credit card to pay for goods or services.

A recent romance scam featured on You and Yours highlighted a new payment method being using by criminals.  In it a lady bravely warns listeners of how transferred money to a scammer into what she believed was a UK bank account.  Although it looked like a UK account number and sort code, it was in fact rented to company that provides front-loaded MasterCards.  These are credit cards onto which you can load up to £5,000 in sterling or Euros.  That card can then be used anywhere in the world.  That company is providing a perfectly legitimate service, although it is effectively making it less than transparent that money is potentially going overseas.

This case shows us that we need to be alert to the possibility that when we think we are transferring money into a UK bank account it may in fact be heading straight overseas, where it could be very difficult to either trace or retrieve the money.