Money transmission companies
Many people use money transmitters to do the following:
- Pay bills electronically (PayPal)
- Wire cash to family members worldwide (Western Union, Sigue)
- Purchase prepaid cards, money orders, travelers checks, and drafts
The companies that offer these services must meet stringent requirements to obtain a license, including providing proof of a surety bond and maintain a minimum $100,000 in net worth.
If you decide to set up an account with a money transmission company, take time to thoroughly read and understand the user agreement. By signing or acknowledging this agreement, you approve the terms.
To ensure the money you are sending arrives to the intended person, verify and spell correctly the person’s first and last names, and provide a correct address. A wrong address or spelling error may mean the receiver does not get the money. Remember to keep your receipt.
If there are problems with your transmission, it is best to resolve them with the company.
Money transmission scams
Transmitting money by wiring or by using a prepaid card is just like cash; once it is sent or used, it can be difficult to track and retrieve it if it mistakenly is sent to the wrong person or to a scammer. Scammers use elaborate schemes, including impersonating family members, to persuade people to wire them money or use prepaid cards.
- Do not send money to someone you have not met in person, particularly those who contact you through email or online dating sites, or by a random phone call.
- Be suspicious and ask a lot of questions if a child or grandchild calls with a hard-luck story such as an arrest in a foreign country and needs bail money wired to them. Verify the information before sending any funds.
- Never send money to pay taxes and fees on lottery or prize winnings.
- Do not wire money or use a prepaid card to cover any upfront fees for a loan. More than likely, the lender is unlicensed in Oregon, and the request for upfront fees is not allowed.