SAE Institute of Technology- Los Angeles

  Wire a Friend Scheme

An overseas landlord has a very cheaply priced (or even free) property. In order to "prove" their ability to pay for a deposit or rental fees, a potential tenant is asked to wire transfer a large amount of funds to a friend or relative. The tenant is reassured there is no risk in doing this, since the landlord does not have access to the transferred funds. All they are requiring is a faxed or scanned copy of the wire transfer receipt to "prove" they have enough money to cover the rental payments. This leaves the potential renter with a false sense of security because they think the funds will surely be returned. The friends or relatives are not allowed to go and retrieve the funds until the prospective landlord verifies the transaction was valid, using the receipt the tenant provided them with.

The landlord takes the copy of the receipt to their nearest Western Union office, not to verify the transaction, but to actually remove the money! All they needed to pull this off is the sender's name and address; the recipient's name (the friend or relative) and address; the Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN) and the transfer amount. Knowledge of this information is considered sufficient proof by the wire transfer company and the money is handed over with a (false) signature taken for the receipt! Police are powerless to do anything because the victims FREELY told the scammer the information they needed to take their money!