DALLAS, March 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- As National Consumer Protection week kicks off, MoneyGram (NASDAQ: MGI) urges consumers to stay alert for one of the most common scams currently trending across the country. The IRS Imposter Scam has already cost victims more than $26 million*, and the number of consumer complaints continues to rise.
The crime begins with a phone call from someone claiming to be with the IRS or a federal agent working with the IRS. The imposter tells the consumer he or she owes money that must be paid with a prepaid card or wire transfer or face jail time. The fraudster often alters the caller ID to make it appear as the call originates from Washington, D.C. Scammers even use fake badge names and numbers and may even know a consumer's full or partial social security number, lending credibility to the scam.
"Fraudsters are very convincing. They use threats of jail, deportation or anything else they know will play on their victims' emotions and force them to react," says Kim Garner, MoneyGram's senior vice president of global investigations. "The most important thing every consumer should remember is the IRS will never call a taxpayer to ask for a money transfer or credit card number. The agency will never threaten to arrest or deport a taxpayer over the telephone. Anyone who receives a call like this should hang up immediately."
Consumers who think they've been a victim of the IRS scheme or any other scam should file a police report, even if only a small amount of money was lost. Reporting a crime helps law enforcement spot trends and stay ahead of the criminals as well as the fast-changing fraud scenarios.
MoneyGram has taken a leadership position in consumer fraud education and is the founding member of the Scam Awareness Alliance, a nonprofit organization that provides information about scams. Consumers can learn more at scamawareness.org.
*U.S. Treasury Inspector General's Office
About MoneyGram International, Inc. MoneyGram is a global provider of innovative money transfer and payment services and is recognized worldwide as a financial connection to friends and family. Whether online, or through a mobile device, at a kiosk or in a local store, we connect consumers any way that is convenient for them. We also provide bill payment services, issue money orders and process official checks in select markets. More information about MoneyGram International, Inc. is available at moneygram.com.
About The Scam Awareness Alliance The Scam Awareness Alliance was created to raise awareness around common scams that target innocent Americans on a daily basis. The Alliance helps to provide tips and information in order to educate people to recognize the "red flags" that may indicate potential scams, and arm them with information that they can use to protect themselves and their loved ones. One of the ways the Alliance raises awareness of scams is through a series of public service announcements. These ads air on stations across the country and depict common scams; helping everyday Americans recognize the "red flags." The Alliance also created a monthly "Red Flag Award," which it gives to organizations, individuals or groups that go the extra mile in warning Americans about the latest and most damaging scams.
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