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Exercise caution when sending money home

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Consumers have been urged to exercise causing when sending money home.

According to international money transfer company MoneyGram, although money transfers are usually safe, there is always an element of risk when taking part in any financial transaction involving people.

Consumers were urged to make sure that the always know they person they are sending money to and never send cash to strangers.

In addition, information about a money transfer should never be shown to or shared with anyone but the recipient.

MoneyGram also urged people to be extremely wary of offers that promise easy ways to earn money - especially if the offers require consumers to send money before earning, as these are most likely to be scams.

The company has launched a special website aimed at educating the general public about common scams such as sweepstakes and grandparent, check overpayment, mystery shopper and relationship scams.

Relationship scams involve con artists communicating with vulnerable people over the internet via dating sites and asking them to wire money because they claim to have moved to another country for work. Requests then continue until the victim realises that they have been conned.

Dennis Wildsmth, vice-president of transaction services and fraud prevention at MoneyGram, said: "Last year we implemented a new alert system in our safety controls to help determine the risk level during the moment of transaction.

"This important safeguard helped prevent thousands of fraud incidents from occurring, saving our customers more than $56 million (£36.5 million) to date."

According to figures from the World Bank, the US sends the most amount of money in the form of overseas transfers. In 2009 alone, the amount of money sent from the US reached $48 billion.

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