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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > August 2021 > Learn About Payment Methods Used in Scams; Some Victims Who Paid Through MoneyGram Now Eligible for

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Learn About Payment Methods Used in Scams; Some Victims Who Paid Through MoneyGram Now Eligible for Refunds

Have you been asked to make a payment by a method other than a credit or debit card? This can be a tipoff that a swindler is attempting to defraud you.
Scammers often choose payment methods that they know will make it virtually impossible for consumers and law enforcement to trace or reverse the charges. Avoid using these types of payment methods when doing business with a stranger to protect yourself from scams:
  • Wire or money transfers
  • Prepaid money cards
  • Gift cards
  • “Peer-to-peer” payment systems, such as Venmo or Zelle

More information:

  • Wire or money transfers: The federal Telemarketing Sales Rule bans telemarketers from requiring payment through a wire or money transfer, which allows the transfer of cash from a consumer in one location to a person or business in another location. Western Union and MoneyGram are examples of companies that provide these “cash-to-cash” services.
  • Gift cards: Scammers seem to prefer several specific brands of gift cards for payment. At this time, Apple, Walmart, Google Play, Target and eBay seem to be fairly popular with scammers. While consumers can give these and other cards to friends and relatives as a gift, they should be very skeptical if a stranger wants to conduct any business using gift cards.

  • “Peer-to-peer” payment systems: These services give consumers the ability to transfer funds online or through an app directly from their bank account. Popular services like Venmo and Zelle may work perfectly well when transferring money to a close friend or family member, but watch out if a stranger wants you to use that type of payment method. On its website, Zelle warns consumers to “Only send money to friends, family and others you trust.”

  • Google Pay and other online payment methods: Some scammers use increasingly common online payment methods such as Google Pay. Because Google Pay is used in many legitimate transactions, it can be difficult to detect a scam simply by knowing that it is the preferred payment method. Google instructs consumers to “Only transfer money with people you know & trust” and cautions that “If someone requests personal financial details or other sensitive info on Google Pay, it’s a scam.” For more information to help avoid scams using Google Pay, click here.

To help maximize your consumer protections, look to using a credit card, especially for online purchases. Credit cards fall under the Fair Credit Billing Act, where your liability cannot exceed $50. If you report the loss before any unauthorized transactions occur, or if your credit card number is stolen and not the physical card, you are not liable for any unauthorized purchases. Some credit card companies voluntarily waive the $50 liability and promote that their consumers have zero liability for unauthorized transactions.

While it is typically difficult for consumers to get their money back from a scam due to the payment methods utilized by many con artists, there is an opportunity for potential refunds for scam victims who paid using MoneyGram between 2013 and 2017, as a result of action taken by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Department of Justice.

These federal agencies alleged that MoneyGram failed to have a “comprehensive fraud prevention program mandated” by the FTC in an order issued back in 2009. According to the FTC, “That order required MoneyGram to promptly investigate, restrict, suspend, and terminate high-fraud agents.”

If you were a scam victim from 2013 to 2017 and paid by MoneyGram, visit If you have questions about this case, the contact phone number is 1-844-269-2630. Some victims received a prefilled form with instructions about how to submit a claim to Gilardi & Co. LLC, the company handling the consumer claims. This legitimate claims process is being overseen by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. No fees are required and no lawyer is necessary for victims to file their claims. The deadline for scam victims submitting a claim is Aug. 31, 2021.

If you suspect a scam or an unfair business practice, contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at or 800-282-0515.