How to Stay Safe When Sending Money Online

The internet has made it easier than ever to send quick, easy, and fast payments to your friends, family, companies, and more. Wire transfers have become the most popular way to send money to both individuals and companies due to their convenience and ease.

However, since wire transfers are an immediate payment and typically cannot be reversed, they are also quite common in fraud schemes. Over $300 million on average was lost to wire transfer fraud last year alone, according to the Federal Trade Commission. If you need to send money to somebody online, it’s important to know what to do to keep yourself and your money safe. 

Use a Reputable Payment App

Using a reputable payment app is key to keeping your money safe when sending payments online. Look for an online payment service that allows you to make transactions to anywhere in the world in a simple and secure way. You can download the Ria Money Transfer app to your phone where you can track recipients, see your past activity, and easily send payments in a matter of seconds to over 400,000 locations around the world. Before sending any money, it’s a good idea to research the different payment apps available, check services and fees, and read past user reviews.  

Know Who You’re Sending To

Another important part of sending money to anybody online is to know who you are sending the money to. Ideally, you should only send to people who you have spoken to so that you know your money is going to the right place. Before making a transfer, double-check all of the details and question anything that looks unusual.

Ask the person or company that you are sending money to if they can confirm their details before you hit send. Don’t send any money to people who have contacted you saying that you owe them money until you have been able to fully confirm this. 

Look Out for Common Scams

There are a few common scams to look out for whenever you are sending money to another individual or business, particularly if you are paying for a service or product. Most of the time, you can trust transferring money to your friends and family to be secure and safe. However, in other situations, it’s important to tread carefully and make sure that you are not being scammed before parting with your money. Some common money transfer scams to look out for include:

Online Shopping Scams

Online shopping scams can sometimes be tricky to spot as the scammers will often create a realistic website and social media ads offering great deals and saying all the right things to draw you in.

However, one of the main differences between these and a legitimate online shopping site is that the payment will usually be requested through a wire transfer or mobile payment app as these are usually irreversible compared to paying with your debit or credit card, where you can have the bank reverse your payment after figuring out it was a scam.

A legitimate online shopping site will usually always have the option to pay with a credit or debit card, PayPal, and other secure payment methods. In addition, the checkout portion of the site at least should always be encrypted and secure to protect your privacy. Don’t buy from a site that does not have the padlock symbol in the browser bar. 

Real Estate Scams

Real estate wire payment scams will usually target people who are in the closing process of refinancing or buying a property. They will do this by gaining access to a legitimate email account and using it to impersonate a realtor or other real estate professional such as a lender, attorney, or escrow officer.

When doing this, they will provide the victim with fraudulent wiring instructions, which send the money directly to the scammer’s account once the payment has been paid. To avoid this scam, it’s important to understand exactly what to expect before you close on a home loan.

Confirm the process with your lender and always double-check with the recipient if you have received any emails requesting that you make a payment before you send any money. 

Tech Support Scams

In a tech support scam, you will be called by somebody who is claiming to be from a well-known and reputable technology company, asking for remote access to your computer. Elderly and vulnerable people who are unlikely to know a lot about technology are often the main targets of these scams as the scammer will inform them that there is a problem with their computer that needs to be rectified immediately.

When given access, they install malicious software on your computer or other devices that allows them to steal your financial information and other personal data. 

Another type of tech support scam will involve the scammer offering a refund for an accidental overcharge or discontinued service, asking for access to your online banking in order to repay you. However, instead of sending you a refund, they will transfer money from your account to theirs. 

To avoid this scam, it’s important to never give any control of your computer or any devices to somebody who contacts you. Hang up if you receive any calls about problems with your computer – you can always take your computer to a reputable company for troubleshooting and repairs if you suspect that there might actually be a problem with it.

A reputable company can also perform a malware check on your computer if you suspect that scammers may have gained access to it. 

While the ability to send money online can be convenient, fast and most secure, there are some extra steps that you will need to take to protect your safety and make sure that you are sending money to a legitimate person.

By using reputable money transfer apps, always double-checking payment information and making sure that the recipient is legitimate, and being aware of some of the most common online payment scams and how to avoid them, you can make sure that you make the most of this technology without losing out financially.