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Articles

Tips For Making Safe Money Transfers During A Pandemic

Updated on Sep 02, 2020
Covid Money transfers

Sponsored by Xoom, a PayPal Service

Lockdowns and social distancing have changed the way we send money internationally. There are multiple ways to send money such as bank transfers, money orders, and cash transfer through foreign exchange (FOREX) agents among others. However, while there are many options to choose from, you want to make sure that you are choosing the safe way to send money.

Safe money transfers during the Coronavirus pandemic refer to both financial and personal safety. Traditional ways of sending money often require physical contact, meaning you may have to meet an agent or broker, or visit a physical location. These traditional services can also be more expensive than some of the newer digital services in the industry.

While banks and other financial services are considered essential and continue to remain open, many people are beginning to shift to online and digital money services to reduce the risk of exposure to the virus and maintain personal safety. This is especially important when sending money internationally, since you want to make sure you’re selecting a money transfer option that keeps both you and your recipient safe, with services that offer contactless transfers.  

Money transfer scams 

In 2019, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) coordinated raids with police of 10 foreign countries that led to an arrest of 281 people in connection to money-transfer scams suspected of stealing millions of dollars from companies and individuals.

In the report by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) on fraud by payment method, credit cards and gift cards were one of the top payment methods wherein fraud was committed.

frauds

As we self-quarantine and are relying on the internet more and more to stay connected, scammers and hackers around the world are using these uncertain times to take advantage of vulnerable consumers. Here are a list of the common fraud trends to be aware of as you continue to navigate through the pandemic:

  • Fake World Health Organization (WHO) - taking advantage of  the uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic, many scammers disguise themselves as WHO representatives, oftentimes to scam consumers into sending money as donations and grants promising a cure or a “quick fix” for the virus. Other common scams include Phishing attacks, wherein scammers trick people into clicking on malicious links or opening attachments. Using this method, criminals can install malware to steal money and sensitive information. The rise in scams has led to the WHO issuing a cybersecurity alert.
  • Charity Scams - During a crisis such as this pandemic, a fraudster might contact you asking for a donation to charity, to take advantage of those looking to support those in need during this time. Before making a donation, review the charity organization before sending your money to ensure it is a legitimate charity. 
  • Employment Scams - Due to lockdowns and reduced economic activity many people have lost their jobs. The unemployment rate is on a rise globally, and many scammers are trying to exploit this vulnerability. A common scam involves getting accepted for a job that is too good to be true, and that may require the victim to pay the fraudster to secure the employment opportunity. Be aware that in most cases, job offers that make these types of guarantees are often not legitimate. 
  • Family Emergency Scams - As many of us have friends and family who may be struggling as a result of the pandemic, a fraudster may pose as a relative or loved one and ask you for money immediately to help with an emergency. Before responding to these types of requests, be sure to take the proper steps to identify this person, and verify they are not a scammer, by asking questions only they would know the answer to, or reaching out to another friend of family member who can confirm that the emergency is legitimate. 

If you have been scammed, we recommend calling the money transfer company immediately to report the fraud and filing a complaint with the FTC.

More InformationHere are some tips to protect yourself from financial fraud

Is using a digital money transfer company safe?

When selecting a money transfer service, you want to ensure that your banking and personal information will remain safe. For example, digital remittance services like Xoom, a PayPal service, help to reduce the risk of having your payment information compromised, as it allows you to securely store your payment information, so you don’t need to enter it for each transaction you make. Xoom also leverages proprietary compliance and anti-fraud policies and procedures mandated by applicable laws and regulations that help ensure your transactions are secure.      

There are a number of ways to identify if the service you use is secure. Here are a few tips to identify if an online money transfer company is safe:

Tip 1: Check the registration license

In the United States, all money transfer service providers require a license. Referred to as Money Services Business (MSB), the federal license is administered by the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the United States Department of Treasury.

You can find the registration status of money transfer service providers using the MSB Registrant Search on FinCen.

Tip 2: Encryption 

When you are sending money online, make sure the website and the mobile app are secure and encrypted. Entering your debit card or credit card details on an unsecured website means that hackers could intercept the information and steal your data.

There are a number of ways of helping to ensure security and the most common way is through SSL certification. SSL enabled website creates a tunnel between the server that hosts the website and your browser, which means hackers cannot access the information you have transmitted over the internet.

The easiest way to determine if a website is enabled with SSL, look for the “S” in the URL. When there is an additional 's' it displays as "https://" instead of simply “http:/”, meaning the site is secure. For example, when you visit Xoom’s website, you will see the URL https://www.xoom.com/

Xoom is a VeriSign SSL Certified secured site that uses 128-bit data security encryption, so information sent between your web browser or mobile app remains private and secure.

Tip 3: Read verified reviews

reviews

All the money transfer companies listed on CompareRemit are regulated and secure. The best way to select the best money transfer company is to compare them side-by-side and read the verified reviews. 

Click on the individual money transfer companies to find out what our verified users are saying. Here is a link to what our users have said about Xoom. Xoom has great ratings on Trustpilot and App stores. Happy customers have mentioned exchange rates, fast speed, low fees, and customer service as their favorites. 

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