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We're the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a U.S. government agency that makes sure banks, lenders, and other financial companies treat you fairly.

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I’ve heard that a lot of con artists use money wire transfers to steal people’s money. Is this true? How can I protect myself?

Yes, con artists use money wire transfers to steal people’s money, for example the "grandparent scam." But you can protect yourself by familiarizing yourself with common scams and by knowing your rights.

Once a money transfer is picked up, there is very little you can do to get your money back. If someone you don’t know asks you to wire money, it should be a red flag. And be cautious when people you do know ask you to wire funds. Verify that they indeed are the ones requesting the money.

One common con is the “grandparent scam.” This is when a con artist posing as a grandchild or a friend of a grandchild will call and say they are in a foreign country, in trouble, and need money right away. Avoid the urge to act quickly. Talk to other family members before sending money.

Other common scams include:

  • Prize promotion scams
  • Counterfeit check scams
  • Mystery shopper scams
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The content on this page provides general consumer information. It is not legal advice or regulatory guidance. The CFPB updates this information periodically. This information may include links or references to third-party resources or content. We do not endorse the third-party or guarantee the accuracy of this third-party information. There may be other resources that also serve your needs.