Don't Get Hooked: Scam Stopper - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Don't Get Hooked: Scam Stopper

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For scam artists to be successful, money usually has to change hands.

And oftentimes Western Union unwittingly helps make that happen.

That is why the wire transfer company is partnering with the Better Business Bureau in an effort to educate the public about these scams.

Western Union is helping with this effort despite the fact that the company profits every time wire transfers are made…even when the money goes to scammers.

Both Western Union and the BBB want to help make sure that you don't get hooked.

Scam Stopper is the result of a partnership between the BBB and Western Union…and educational effort that hopes to reach millions through web sites, brochures and social media.

"Western Union realized that quite often they are used as a conduit for the scam artists," says Janet Robb with the Arkansas BBB.  "Because many of the solicitations you get trying to hook you into a scam involve wiring money. And typically you would contact Western Union to do that."

This new partnership lists on both organizations web sites the nine scams most likely to involve a Western Union wire transfer…including overpayment scams, people claiming to be in an emergency situation and needing money fast, scams involving down payments on rental properties and advance fee or prepayment scams.

Robb says it is very noble for Western Union to train its employees to help recognize and stop these scams considering the company has a financial interest at stake.

"Of course…they get a percentage off of every time someone wires funds," says Robb. "So it was a profit center for them. But I think they also realized that in the long run it really diminishes the market place. It erodes the trust factor in the market place. And it was something that they could do to step in and make sure that their services are being used only for legitimate purposes."

Consumers lost over a billion dollars to scams last year.

To learn more about the nine most common types involving wire transfers, visit www.bbb.org.   

Air date:  October 10th, 2012