Recognizing Wire Transfer Scams


Be suspicious of any message requesting an immediate transfer of money. Scammers masquerading as a trusted sender begin with a seemingly benign, single-sentence question like “Are you available?” or “Hey is this your email?” They typically follow up with an urgent request for money.

An example:The pretext is often a sympathetic situation. Some examples:

  • “I’m traveling overseas and I’ve lost my passport.”
  • “I’ve been arrested and need help getting bailed.”
  • “My wallet was stolen and I’m stuck in the middle of nowhere.”
  • “There’s a charitable organization in need of donations.”

Eventually, the scammer will ask the recipient to make a wire transfer using a service like PayPal or Western Union.

We advise users to be vigilant and always check the sender address before replying to any urgent message. The scammers send these messages hoping the recipient is already anticipating a call from the person they are impersonating. Simply asking yourself “Has this person ever sent me an email from this address before?” will usually give it away. Better yet, contact the user (through a means other than email) and ask if they sent it.

Members of the Fordham community who receive suspicious messages can forward them to for review. Users can also report potential phishing and malicious emails with one click from your Fordham Gmail safely and in real-time with the Cofense Reporter Gmail add-on.


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