February 20, 2018

Wires: Tips to Protect Your Money

Graphic of a Dollar Sign in front of a blue background
Graphic of a Dollar Sign in front of a blue background

Wires are inherently risky. Once a wire is sent, including a fraudulent wire, the transfer CANNOT be reversed. When sending a wire, it is extremely important that you personally know who you are sending the funds to. If you do not know the person or company, the request may be fraudulent. Allow us to point out some of the usual fraud schemes and scams we have witnessed involving wires. While this is not an all-inclusive list, it will help you decide if the wire transfer YOU request is legitimate.

Things you should ask yourself before you make a wire transfer request:

1.  What is the source of this wire transfer request?

For example, was this request received via e-mail from another account owner, someone you know, or your boss (e.g. CEO or CFO)? If so, you should confirm this request in person or over the phone, using a number you have on file, with that individual to ensure they actually e-mailed the request.

2.  Have you been told not to disclose the reason you are wiring funds?

What is the reason for the secrecy? Is it valid?

3.  Do you personally know the individual or business you are sending money to?

If not, are you certain the requestor is who they say they are?

Situation #1: You have been instructed to send a wire to someone you do not know. Here are some scenarios that should raise flags:

Wiring funds to an investment firm located outside the United States that contacted you via e-mail, mail, or telephone
Keep in mind that fraudulent requests for wires occur every day. Ensure you are comfortable with who you are sending money to.

Wiring funds to pay for fees or taxes in order to release lottery winnings or an inheritance
The lotteries we are aware of do not require taxes or fees to be paid in advance as a requirement of collecting the winnings.

Wiring funds to cover a loved one’s expenses or bail
If you were you notified by someone you do not personally know, or even by your loved one via email, confirm this request in person or over the phone with your loved one directly.

Unexpectedly contacted by a business or vendor stating their payment information has changed
Contact the business or vendor directly, using a phone number you have on file, to validate the changes are legitimate.

Situation #2: You deposited a check or received an electronic deposit to your account and the sender is requesting you to wire them the full or partial amount of the deposit back. Here are some common deceptions designed to steal YOUR money:

  • Wiring money to someone due to a canceled purchase for items sold on the internet
  • You are requested to deposit a check and send a portion back under the pretense that the extra money is commission or overpayment
  • Wiring funds to someone who hired you to process checks for them or their company
  • Wiring funds to someone you met on the internet that sent you money

In these situations, if the deposit into your account is fraudulent and you wire out or withdraw the funds, you will be held RESPONSIBLE for the entire amount of the returned deposit. Should any these situations arise, STOP and contact River City Bank at (916) 567-2899 or (800) 564-7144, prior to sending the wire.

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