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Sound wiring: How to pare costs,
increase speed and avoid fraud

Here are some ways to keep your costs down, and ensure security and expediency when wiring money.
1. If you make frequent wire transfers to a foreign country, consider setting up an account with a bank that has a large international presence and ATM network to facilitate access for the recipient.
2. Carry identification with you when sending or picking up the money.
3. Sending money from one Federal Reserve member bank to another member bank can help you avoid delays in processing time.
4. When sending a wire, make sure you are given a transaction number or telephone number you can call to confirm receipt.
5. If you use a service such as MoneyGram or Western Union to wire money overseas, ask about promotions on exchange rates.
6. Many money-wiring scams are initiated through e-mail or telephone. You may get requests to wire money in order to obtain a prize, participate in a foreign lottery or business opportunity, or to get a credit card or loan. Never respond to such offers. One hoax that has been floating around for years is the "Nigerian letter scam," in which bank customers receive e-mails, faxes or letters that ask for permission to use their account to temporarily park wired money. Victims are promised a percentage of the deposit, but end up having their bank accounts wiped out.
7. To find out the real cost, inquire about fees for the sender and recipient; ask for currency exchange rates where applicable and the amount charged for the exchange.
8. If you are a victim of wire fraud, report it immediately to the appropriate regulatory agency.


-- Posted: Oct. 12, 1999

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