Iowa has joined in with 46 other states in an agreement with Western Union they hope will cut down on wire fraud schemes. Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller says the elderly are often the victim of scams in which they’re enticed to wire money out of the country on the promise of getting rich.

Miller says Western Union has agreed to post warnings on the forms used to wire money. Miller says the company is also training their people to look for these kind of scams and they’re also trying to use computerized systems to try and identify individuals who’re getting scammed, and the scammers.

Miller says Western Union has also agreed to let people reconsider and stop a money transfer if the transaction hasn’t been completed. In addition, Miller says the company is giving eight million dollars to the A-A-R-P to set up counseling program. A-A-R-P will use lists of people who’ve been scamed.

He says they have various ways of getting the names of people who’ve been scammed, law enforcement, “mooch lists”. He says the A-A-R-P will call the people and counsel them. Miller says you can keep yourself from getting stung by wire fraud by following some simple rules.
He says don’t wire transfer money to someone you don’t know. He says, “Three weeks on the internet doesn’t count as knowing that person. It’s one thing for me to wire money to my son, which I’ve done on occasion, and quite another thing for me to wire money to someone in Canada or Nigeria that I don’t know who is telling me that I’m going to get rich quick one way or another.”

Miller says there’s one good warning sign for a scam.
He says all of the schemes are premised on an advanced fee. He says the fee is usually small in comparison to the reward you’re promised, but he says you have to pay it in advance. Miller says most of the fraud operators have moved out of the country — many to Canada — to avoid being brought back to Iowa for prosecution. He says that’s why they’re trying to stop the fraud before it gets started.

He says it’s very difficult to get the money back when it goes to a foreign country. He says that’s whey they work on shutting off the money before it gets out of the country. Miller says it’s estimated that some 113-million dollars was scammed in the wire frauds last year. He says if you figure Iowa is one-percent of that amount — then there could be as much as one-million dollars going out of the state.