10 most common scams: Money transfers

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Stay one step ahead of the fraudsters with our series of articles giving you the lowdown on the scams they use to trick people out of their hard-earned cash - and how to avoid being taken in by them.

This week, money transfer scams, which involve you having money transferred into your account and then sending some of it on to another account.


How does it work?
Money transfer scams often start with an email, a letter or phone call, although some criminals place ads in newspapers and online offering an easy way to earn "commission" from home - often by becoming an "account manager" or "transfer manager".

In most cases, all you have to do is receive a payment into your bank account, take it out as cash and then send it abroad using a money transfer service or other means.

You might be told that the money is for trading shares abroad, or even that you will be helping a charity distribute funds.

However, you are probably being used by criminals to launder money, which could result in to up to 14 years in prison and an unlimited fine.

The scammers may also pressure you into paying back the "commission" or use the details you have given them to access your account and steal your money.

How can I avoid being caught out?
Recent research indicates that around 15% of Britons are targeted with money transfer scams.

But if you receive an unsolicited email or a letter asking you to transfer money, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) advises you to simply ignore it.

If you receive a phone call, meanwhile, the best approach is to simply say no and hang up.

As a general rule, you should never give out your bank account details unless you are certain of who you are dealing with.

I've been defrauded. What should I do?
If you have already given the fraudsters your account details, your first move should be to tell your bank as soon as possible so that your account can be secured.

You should report the scam to the FCA by contacting its Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768, and to the police through Action Fraud, which you can contact on 0300 123 2040.

Other common scams
1. Phishing
2. Car fraud
3. Ticket fraud
4. Boiler rooms
5. Auction websites