Money Transfer Security Tips

Tips to help protect you from fraud

Western Union knows you work hard for your money. That’s why we’re working to help you protect yourself from fraud.

Be cautious if:

  • You receive an offer that sounds too good to be true, like a rock-bottom price on expensive or hard-to-find merchandise.
  • Yours is the winning bid in an online auction, and you're dealing with a seller who'll only accept a money transfer as payment.
  • You’re told you’ve won a lottery or prize, but have to pay taxes or fees before you can collect.
  • Someone responds to your ad claiming they've found your lost pet or jewelry and asks you to send money for shipping or a reward.
  • You’re selling merchandise and receive a check for much more than your asking price and are asked to send the extra amount back through money transfer.
  • You’re offered a low-cost loan but must pre-pay fees or the first few loan payments using money transfer services.
  • You get a call from someone claiming to be a police officer or a hospital employee asking for money for the bail or medical treatment of a loved one.
  • You respond to a job ad for a Mystery Shopper and as part of the job you receive a check and are asked to wire money back. The fact that a bank makes funds available doesn't mean that the check or money order will clear. It can take weeks for a counterfeit check or money order to be discovered, at which time the bank can deduct the amount that was originally deposited into your account.


  • Know the person you’re sending money to.
  • Buy goods and services from known and trusted sources.
  • Avoid paying for online auction purchases through money transfer.
  • Use extra caution if buying or selling items to someone outside of your country, especially when buying popular, high-dollar items.
  • Discontinue any transaction if someone coaches you on how to respond to questions asked by Western Union. This is a sure sign of fraud.
  • Contact your State Attorney General Office of Consumer Affairs if you think someone is trying to defraud you.


  • The Western Union is a great way to send money to people you know and trust.
  • It isn’t intended to send money to someone you don’t know.
  • Western Union doesn’t provide an escrow service and isn’t responsible for the quality or non-receipt of any goods or services.
  • Sending money using a fictitious receiver name won’t protect you when doing business with a stranger. Don’t do it.
  • Where available, the "Test Question" feature is designed for emergency situations where the receiver will not have proper identification. It should never be used as additional security to time or delay payment of a transaction.
  • If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.