The Federal Trade Commission announced on June 1 that it opened a claim filing process for people who lost money by sending funds to scammers by using Moneygram. Anyone who lost money in a Moneygram scam is eligible to submit a claim if they meet two criteria:

• Sent a Moneygram transfer from the U.S. to a scammer between Jan. 1, 2013 and Dec. 31, 2017.

• Used their name on the money transfer

The money to pay these claims will come from a $125 million settlement between the US Department of Justice and Moneygram, finalized in 2018, after the DOJ sued Moneygram for not honoring previous agreements to crack down on fraud facilitated through these money transfers.

Scammers used Moneygram in grandparent scams, computer tech support scams, lottery scams, government grant scams, and others. If you find yourself in this class of victims, you can file your claim online at http://moneygramremission.com, or print the claim form from the same website and submit it by mail. The deadline for filing is Aug. 31, 2021.

The claim forms require you to give your Social Security number. You do not pay a fee to file a claim, and you don’t need a lawyer to file. Don’t pay anyone who contacts you and says they will help you file. It looks like you also need the Moneygram control number generated when you sent the money. This number appears on receipts and other forms printed when the money was sent.

If you lost money by using Moneygram, and need any help filing, reach out to me. This is an all too rare opportunity for victims to get their money back, and it still puzzles me why it took three years after the 2018 settlement before we can file claims.

Posting photos of ID on social media

A young Clinton woman is working through the fallout of what happened after she sent images of her holding her newly minted Iowa drivers license through Facebook. Danielle (not her real name) renewed her license in January 2021. The folks at the driver’s license station don’t give you a new license at the time you renew – they mail it to you, and it can take weeks or up to a month. Danielle waited and waited for her new license to arrive, and when it finally did, she felt so relieved and excited, she photographed the license, and herself holding it, and sent the images to a relative, because she felt so good about it.

And then someone hacked Danielle’s Facebook account, taking it over and locking Danielle out. The hacker used the account to send out fake messages promoting a non-existent “grant” to Danielle’s Facebook friends. To get the grant, you needed to send money. For instance, if you wanted a $1,200 grant, send $100. To make the offer look more legitimate and credible, the hacker used Danielle’s driver’s license photos to prove how authentic the whole thing was. After all, why show anyone an image of your real driver’s license if you promoted a scam?

As far as we know, no one fell for this very familiar Facebook scam, but now Danielle’s license is pretty much a public record. Her identity is sorely compromised, and she will likely take more hits in the form of identity theft.

Danielle’s mistake is a cautionary story about why authorities discourage us from posting images of official identification, including voter cards and COVID inoculation records. It’s difficult enough to keep your identity locked down without taking on added risk by posting that information online.

Contact Seniors vs. Crime

Let me know about scams, fraud, or other crookedness you run across. Most of what I learn, I learn from you. Contact me at Seniors vs. Crime, Clinton County Sheriff’s Office, 242-9211, Ext. 4433, or email me at randymeier@gapa911.us

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