Workshop to examine lottery, other money transfer scams

It may have happened to an employee, one of your customers, or a member of your family.  Someone calls to report “You’re a winner!” of a foreign lottery.  To collect, all they have to do is wire money to cover the taxes and fees.  Or the caller impersonates a grandchild or other friend-in-need and says they’re desperate to have money wired now.  Both are examples of the elaborate schemes scam artists have come up with to try to convince people to wire cash to someone they don’t know.

The FTC continues to receive a large number of complaints about this type of scam.  In 2010, the agency’s Consumer Sentinel system showed that money transfers were the method of payment in 44% of the complaints the agency received that included payment method information.

Strategies for effectively combating these scams are the subject of a public workshop the FTC is hosting on May 2-3, 2011, in Chicago with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.  The workshop will bring together government agencies, money transfer service providers, and other companies to consider additional steps that can be taken to address these frauds.  Industry representatives will be on hand to discuss their efforts to prevent scam artists from using their money transfer systems and what they’re doing to educate employees and consumers.

The workshop is free and open to the public.  You can preregister by emailing your name and affiliation by April 22nd to

Looking for more on what people can do to suss out these scams?  Visit the FTC’s Money Matters “Wiring Money” site or read Spotting an Impostor: Scammers Pose as Friends, Family and Government Agencies.

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