South Florida is a perennial Spring Break hot spot, and with the season comes a new crop of scam artists aiming to take advantage and steal some cash.
March is the biggest month for Spring Break travelers, and MoneyGram International warns that there will likely be an uptick in what the money transfer company calls the “family scam,” which targets loved ones of Spring Breakers. Basically, scammers call parents with a claim that their child in in trouble and needs cash wired quickly for medical care or bail. It works when parents rush to send the money before checking facts.
“Spring break can be a letting-go experience for parents of college students,” said Kim Garner, Senior Vice President of Global Security for MoneyGram, in a recent release. “But along with letting go, parents should hang on to their common sense, especially when it comes to helping their kids stay safe and avoid certain common scams.”
MoneyGram International offers these tips:
Check in before heading out: American students traveling internationally can register with the U.S. State Department’s free Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, which will help with communications in the event of an emergency. Visit: https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/.
Phone home: Parents and students should make special phone arrangements, such as establishing specific times for phone calls to check in. And ask your child for cell phone numbers of the friends they are traveling with, as well.
Beware ID thieves: Some scammers check IDs and cell phones left unattended at the beach or elsewhere, says MoneyGram, and use the information to find parents and ask for money to be wired in the aid of their child who can’t come to the phone. Never wire money to anyone you don’t know. Check out a story by calling the child’s cell phone or the local authorities where their child is vacationing.
What do you say? Have you been the victim of a Spring Break scam of any kind? Do you know of others? Send an email to email@example.com.
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