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 The root of all evil...western union (not really but...)

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3digitty
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:13 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Wouldn't it make sense for western union and money gram to have a pamphlet or questionnaire that educates people about 419 scams? Maybe this is smaller than I think, but maybe not, others would know better than me. If this is a real problem, as I have read, it would be worth it for those companies to notify people making transfers of 419 scams.

Are they too big to give a shit? I would think that would stop/ minimize this at it's root since that is the primary system that these guys use to make there scam successful.

Just a thought. What do you think?

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RoyalFlush
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:39 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Most WU/MG users are honest people, not scammers. Why worry about something that, when viewed in the "big picture" sense, isn't really all that bad?

We baiters also tend to view WU/MG a bit differently than the rest of the population views them. The average person...at least here in the States...doesn't really think anything of the services. The most that you'll think is "Stinkin' ripoff" because the transfers are a bit expensive.

If public perception were that WU/MG were little more than convenient ways for scammers to rip off people? Well...then the services would probably work very hard on their image. At that point, their bottom line would be in jeopardy, and they'd pretty much *have* to take some sort of action.

Designing and printing literature and/or training the agents/employees would cost time and money. Why eat up the bottom line when the problem isn't really all that big? Most transactions are honest, many everyday people have no problem with the services, and there's a lot of money to be made worldwide. If it ain't broke...

I'd also hesitate to call the transfer services the "root" of the problem. I'd much rather look at the scammers as the source of the problem. If they weren't scamming, we wouldn't be having this discussion in the first place...and WU/MG wouldn't have fraudulent transactions to (not) worry about.

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3digitty
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:48 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I understand that they are not the "root" of the problem, hence the "Not really but..." in the subject line.

So what you're saying is, they are probably too big too give a shit? And it would cost a TON of money to train and have materials on hand...makes sense.

Just throwing it out there...

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RoyalFlush
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 5:21 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Something like that. Why worry about something that, overall, isn't that bad? It's not affecting either corporation. They aren't losing money or suffering from a bad reputation among the general population.

I don't blame them for it, either. They have bigger things to worry about. Like...stolen credit cards. WU in particular is nuts about making sure that you're the cardholder. Especially if you try to send money through their Web site. Not a bad thing. Just annoying if you're really the cardholder and your brother really needs cash in a hurry. Smile

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3digitty
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 5:28 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I've never used WU or Money gram so I'm not familiar with the process.

Imagine if they did notify people about 419/lotto scams prior to processing the transfer....I bet it would eliminate much of this. It would force scammers to rely on bank to bank wire transfers. Or, I guess they could set up a paypal account...which may be suspicious to some people, or not, if they fall for it, they fall for it.

Anyway...

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Cam
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 5:33 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Actually, the front page of EVERY Western Union form (in the northwestern US, anyway) has a list of warning signs of an "unusual" transaction. They list the big red flags like sending to someone you've never met, sending to an email contact, sending a fee to claim winnings, and so on. IIRC, they don't use the words "dangerous" or "fraud" or anything like that; they just say to call Western Union BEFORE sending the money.

Of course, that's only useful if the person READS the front page.

I know someone who works at place that processes Western Union transactions. She said that dealing with suspicious transactions was learned by trial and error because it wasn't really discussed in training. She does think she has a couple of saves to her credit, though--a Craigslist scam victim and a would-be check mule.

WU might be more compelled to act if there were more hard data on the scope of the problem. IIUC, relatively few victims actually report being scammed, and relatively few LEAs investigate the ones that are reported... so how does anyone know just how big the problem is?
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3digitty
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 5:51 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Good point...if people don't report it, there really isn't a problem (in WU's mind).

I don't know that I would report if I'd been scammed like this either. When you look back at everything, after the fact, it has to be pretty obvious it was a scam from the get go. Maybe not...I really can't believe it myself but I guess there are crazier things that happen in this world.

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Obi-Wan Knievel
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 5:55 am Reply with quoteBack to top

WU and MG might seem to turn a blind ear and deaf eye to the 419 problem, but they've really done everything they can do with their disclaimers online and in print. All their FAQ's and written advice includes warnings about fraud, but they can't really question every one of their clients to the Xth degree. Their job is to send wire transfers as per their customers' instructions, and it's not their place to know all the details.

While they are a tool used by the scammers, they're no more responsible for fraud than matches are responsible for arson or than a distillery is responsible for drunk driving. For that matter (to quote Chris Rock), how can someone withdraw $1,000 cash from an ATM at 4:00 in the morning with no questions asked?

Still, you make a good point tdigitty. While I'm sure millions of people send and receive legitimate transfers every week, I often wonder just what percentage are scam victims.
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3digitty
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Joined: 27 Feb 2008
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Location: North of Mexico


PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 6:23 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Obi-Wan Knievel wrote:
While I'm sure millions of people send and receive legitimate transfers every week, I often wonder just what percentage are scam victims.


That would be VERY interesting to know.

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asiaguy
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 3:39 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I send WU $$ every month to pay the salary of a contractor building a house for me in Thailand.
I use the previous months printed receipt, hand it to the counter person and just tell them the amount.
They enter the same details as on the piece of paper, then enter the new amount.
They know me very well.
They know I send the money to the same person every time I do it.

But, they are trained to ask me:
"Do you know the receiver very well?"
"Are you aware that Thailand is a known center of advance fee fraud?"
"Are you sending this money to claim a lottery prize or an a large bank deposit?"

They do this each and every time!!!
For obvious reasons, I don't find this to be a nuisance at all.
I love the fact that they do this to everyone who uses their services here.

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Jayhawk
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 3:43 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I've always wondered what the cost would be of requiring a thumbprint from people receiving the transfers. Banks have that technology now. At least that way you could have some information concerning the person receiving the money on the other end.

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jojobean
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 3:50 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

^^^^

If I was sending or receiving money, I would not want to do that.

It's about free will. WU does more than their share to stop scams. What people do with their cash is up to them.

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Jayhawk
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:01 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

^^^ jojo, I was thinking of something like this:

http://www.crimebite.com/solution.htm

There is no residue left on the finger. It's a simple process that electronically captures the fingerprint. Many businesses that cash checks are now using this process.

Again, this might be cost prohibitive, but I don't know the cost.

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just checked the site for update now, shipment smurfs in Porto Novo. Yes!! - Stanley
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i will kill you even if it take me to go to jail i will do that because i hate you with all my life....
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jojobean
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:05 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I was just thinking more of an invasion of one's privacy. I don't want my fingerprint in their system if I want to send money to my sister, or whoever. That's just me bring paranoid though. Laughing

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bohigal
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:37 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Quote:
that is the primary system that these guys use to make there scam successful.

If anything it's the internets and email that have made scamming more profitable for the bastidges. WU/MG are the final link in the chain.

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Jayhawk
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:43 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I was thinking more along the lines of requiring the print from the person receiving the cash, not the person sending it. I still think it could work.

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just checked the site for update now, shipment smurfs in Porto Novo. Yes!! - Stanley
i will not share my smurfs with anybody again - Stanley (again)
Yes pets are allowed as far as you will occupy the apartment alone, you can release the Kraken.

i will kill you even if it take me to go to jail i will do that because i hate you with all my life....
assisin killer to Feathers McGraw
PLEASE I BEG YOU TO LET ME KNOW THAT PIGGIES OF YOURS PLEASE... assisin killer to Feathers again
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3digitty
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 8:14 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

asiaguy wrote:
But, they are trained to ask me:
"Do you know the receiver very well?"
"Are you aware that Thailand is a known center of advance fee fraud?"
"Are you sending this money to claim a lottery prize or an a large bank deposit?"

I wasn't aware of this...I kind of assumed that since people are still being scammed through those outlets that they weren't doing anything to educate people.

That's interesting...I wonder if they are consistent in asking those questions across all the branches. Or do vics just ignore the warning cause they have large sums of money on their minds?


Jayhawk wrote:
I was thinking more along the lines of requiring the print from the person receiving the cash, not the person sending it. I still think it could work.

That sounds like a good idea too me. You have to do it with most banks unless you're a member. The only way it would work is if the scammers cared if they got caught and if someone actually went after them.

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Obi-Wan Knievel
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 11:02 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

tdigitty wrote:
Or do vics just ignore the warning cause they have large sums of money on their minds?
Unless I'm mistaken, that's exactly how scammers succeed as often as they do. Unlike other thieves who simply take your money, a successful scammer can convince the victim to give it over willingly. When the WU clerk asks "do you know this person", a properly hooked victim will say yes.

The victims' willingness to hand over their money is (IMHO) probably the main reason why scams don't get reported very often. I know that if I was a scam victim, the humiliation of falling for the "oldest trick on the web" would keep me from telling anyone.
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Just Jane
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 26, 2008 1:05 am Reply with quoteBack to top

The lad I'm baiting now sent me a long note yesterday. Somehow, he thinks a payday is imminent Laughing. Anyway, the whole point of his note was to tell me that I'm not to discuss this transaction at all with the WU people. If they asked me what it was for I was to tell them I was sending it to my church.

That note kind of makes me think that WU is trying to warn people. However, I don't really think it's up to them to be the money police. The education and prevention of this kind of fraud needs take place before people walk into the WU office.
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