Online Security

Advance Fee Scams

If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Keeping that age-old adage in mind is the best way to spot and thwart Advance Fee Scams.
Advance Fee Scams Take Many Shapes and Forms

Some scams start with the promise of a prize like the scenario illustrated here. Others prey on individuals with poor credit and offer loans or cash advances. Another variant lures investors to partake in a lucrative business or trading opportunity. But the tell-tale sign of this scam is always the request for upfront payment—whether in the form of a finder’s fee, processing fee, etc.

Action Steps to Prevent Advance Fee Scams

In the unfortunate event that you fall victim to what you believe to be a scam, responding quickly can help limit the damage.

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    Contact the institution behind whichever payment method you used and ask them to immediately halt the transaction. This may mean calling your credit card company, bank, gift card issuer, wire transfer company, entity behind a money transfer app or even USPS (to intercept a cash payment in the mail).

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    Report the incident to the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov, which can help law enforcement track down the perpetrator and protect future victims.

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    Reach out to a trusted individual for guidance, such as local law enforcement, close family or friends or your Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor.