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Consumer Protection

Protect yourself

Fraud alert tips

Protect yourself from being tricked when using MoneyGram money transfer services:

  • Be careful who you send money to;
  • Keep your transaction information confidential;
  • Be suspicious of very cheap “too good to be true” deals;
  • Before sending money in response to a newspaper or magazine ad for airline, concert or similar tickets, research the offer thoroughly.

Common Scams

1. Internet purchase


Have you found something online that interests you - a puppy, a car, an apartment for rent or any item for sale? Does the price for the item seem to be too good to be true and are you being asked to pay for the item by MoneyGram money transfer? Unfortunately, this is a SCAM.

Do not send money for the item to the seller. They may even send you a letter or e-mail of authentication telling you that you have purchased the item but need to wire funds first. Do not send the money. It is a SCAM. You will receive no merchandise.

2. Romance Scam


Did you meet someone through a dating website, personal ad, e-mail, chat room or an instant message? Did they ask you to send them money for travel or to help them financially? If you have not met this person in real life, do not send the money - this is a SCAM.

Any of the following behaviours should raise concerns that the person you are interacting with is a scammer:

  • They claim to be travelling or stationed overseas, even if it is temporary or for work.
  • They ask you to send them money or provide your personal or financial details.
  • They quickly profess strong feelings or love for you.
  • They are vague about their interests or what they want in a partner and not particular about how old their partner might be.
  • Their computer camera or Skype connection never seem to work.
  • They do not answer your questions or their responses are formulaic, nonsensical or repetitive.
  • Their profile is at odds with their story, or their communications with you display poor spelling or grammar.
  • Don't send money for plane tickets, visas, customs fees or any other travel expenses the scammer claims to have. They may send you copies of their passport, tickets or visa to 'prove' they are coming to visit you-don't believe these stories. Scammers often have access to authentic-looking fake documents.
  • Scammers claiming to be members of the military will often say they need your money to pay for a leave pass or some other expense so they can visit you. This is just an excuse to get you to pay money. The military does not charge for leave passes.

3. Person in need Scam


Did you receive a phone call from a grandchild or a family member? Or a "lawyer" or "police officer" there with your family member? Are they in despair because they have been detained in Canada for not having a fishing license or for catching a protected species of fish? Have they been in a car accident? Are they asking for money to pay fines or for car repair? Did a relative call because they need money for a family member in medical need or for medicine? THIS IS A SCAM!

A medical, legal or other emergency is a common excuse used by scammers to get at your money. To create a sense of emergency, scammers will often tell you that:

  • They or a relative, often a child, is sick or injured (often in a car accident or hit and run) and needs money for medical treatment.
  • They have been robbed or lost their wallet and need money to pay living expenses, a hotel bill or the police.
  • They have been arrested or detained by immigration authorities and need money for bribes, visa or customs fees.
  • They have been kidnapped and need your help to pay the ransom.
  • These stories are designed to make you feel as if the situation is desperate and to get you to send money without thinking. However, you should never send money to anyone you meet online.

4. Lottery Scam


You receive a telephone call or an email saying you've won money or a prize requiring you to send money to pay for taxes, customs fees, etc. This common trick focuses on the hopes people have of winning a lottery or big prize. Never transfer money to claim a prize, or to someone you cannot verify.

Scammers will often tell you that money you send them will go to a charity or will be used to support a business venture. This might be anything from oil exploration to gold mining, gemstone sales and more. The scammer might also tell you they can access some kind of treasure or inheritance and say that they need money to recover it, resolve legal issues or get a valuable item through customs. You should not send money. Charities don’t solicit donations through money transfer and any stories about great riches are just a ploy to get you to make a scammer rich.

What should I do if I have been scammed?

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1. Cease communication

If you think you have been scammed, the first step is to immediately cease communication with the scammer, to avoid losing more money or giving away more personal information. Ignore any attempts by the scammer to communicate with you and take steps to block future communications, e.g. set up rules in your email account and on your mobile phone.

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2. Report to MoneyGram

If you have sent money to the scammer, particularly if you have provided any personal or financial details, you should contact MoneyGram and any other financial institution and inform them. If you have given the scammer information such as account numbers, credit card numbers or passwords you should immediately change them. You can report the issue to MoneyGram here (hyperlink to Report a problem link). If you suspect fraud on a transaction that has not yet been received, please contact our Customer Care Centre immediately on 0800 451 078 in order to have the transaction cancelled.


How to report a scam:

Report an issue by:

To help us investigate and resolve your issue, please provide the following information when contacting us:

    • Your name and address
    • Daytime telephone number
    • Time you prefer us to contact you
    • 8-digit transaction reference number
    • Details of the problem and resolution being requested
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3. Report the scam to the New Zealand Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Reporting a scam assists with monitoring scam trends. You can report a scam via the online reporting form on the Scamwatch website at www.scamwatch.co.nz. The details of complaints made will be kept confidential.

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4. Contact police

If you have sent money to the scammer, report the matter to the police via Netsafe at www.netsafe.org.nz. If someone attempts to blackmail you, or makes threats of any kind, you should contact the police immediately.

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5. Contact site operator

You should report the scammer to the dating site or internet purchase site where you first had contact with them, as they may be targeting other users. You should provide the site operator with as much information about the scammer as possible. This may include examples of emails or instant messaging communications received from the scammer and photos, names and addresses, email addresses or phone numbers used by the scammer.

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6. Beware of future contact

Scammers will often contact you under new guises to try and get more money from you. They may pretend to be lawyers, government officials or police, often from another country, and claim that they have caught the scammer and need money to recover your losses. You should never send money—the scammers are simply trying to get more out of you.

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7. Take steps to protect your personal data

Scammers collect information about you during a scam for identity theft. Take some time to review what information the scammer might know about you and take steps to change this information if required. Information such as passport numbers, bank account details and driver’s licence numbers are particularly valuable to scammers. Consider changing your mobile phone number, email address and any social media accounts.

Check your settings on any and all social media accounts and restrict access to friends only. Public access is just that. Anyone can find out very personal information about you including: where you live and work; your patterns and routines; and details about your kids, hobbies and interests.