Unfortunately, there are people who use money services for illegal activities that deliberately defraud and harm consumers. These criminals will lie to convince you to wire money or send a money order or prepaid card to them, and then you won’t be able to get your money back. The best way to stop them is to learn how they’ll try to trick you. Fidelity Express is committed to educating you so you don’t become a victim of fraud.
It’s our goal to educate consumers on ways to safeguard their money and personal information and avoid becoming a victim of consumer fraud. Keep in mind that other scams exist, so it’s always safest to use common sense when sending money. The most important tip we can give is, do not send money to someone you do not know.
Many fraudsters target older adults and use the phone to try to trick and cheat them into sending money. They might pressure you or threaten you, or become increasingly aggressive.
If you sent a Fidelity Express Money Order to a potential fraudster, please call our Consumer Care Center at (800) 621-8030 for assistance.
Reporting Consumer Fraud
If you were a victim of fraud via the Internet, file a report with your local police and the Internet Crime Complaint Center (ICCC), a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center.
If you used Fidelity Express to send money as a result of a scam, contact Fidelity Express at (800) 621-8030.
Common Consumer Scams
Almost all money fraud starts with contact with a stranger. Protect yourself, never send money to someone you don’t know.
- Buying a vehicle
- Have you found a great vehicle online or in an advertisement with a price too good to be true? Are you being asked to send the down payment through a wire transfer, prepaid card or money order?
- Unfortunately, it’s a scam. Do not send money for the vehicle to the seller or a payments representative. The vehicle purchase scammer may try to convince you to pay through Fidelity Express, Moneygram, or Western Union to avoid sales tax and get a great price. They may even send you a letter or email of authentication telling you that you have purchased the item, but in order to deliver it, you need to wire funds first. Do not send the money. It’s a SCAM. You will not receive a car or truck. Once the money is wired and received or money orders/prepaid card sent and cashed, they cannot be recovered.
- Check/money order
- Have you received a check or money order in the mail with instructions to first cash it at your bank and then send some of the funds to someone else through wire money transfer, money order or prepaid card? If so, the check/money order is counterfeit and your bank will make you cover the loss. Be aware that counterfeit checks are very hard to identify. You may have been promised a percentage of the check for employment or because of an over payment. This is a SCAM. Do not send the money and do not cash the check.
- Disaster relief
- In times of disaster, it’s important to be aware of charity scams. There are many legitimate ways to provide support to help people impacted by floods, earthquakes, fires, or other natural disasters. If you’re eager to make a donation, give in a way that you have donated before or through a trusted organization or business where you fully understand how the funds are being collected and used.
- Elder abuse scam
- A stranger begins a close relationship with you and offers to manage your finances and assets. Or, signatures on documents do not resemble your own signature. Don’t get duped into parting with your money through financial abuse scams. Scammers will try to manipulate you into turning over property and/or money, and this can leave your cash, checking account or even life savings completely wiped out in one transaction. Financial abuse scams can take many forms, including telemarketing fraud, identity theft, predatory lending, and home improvement and estate planning scams. Never trust your money with anyone you don’t know.
- Foreign lottery
- The U.S. government recently issued a national warning about the continued defrauding of citizens taking place through a foreign lottery or sweepstakes scam. Be aware that if you receive a notice about winning a lottery, no matter how official it looks, and are required to pay a fee to claim your winnings this is a scam.
- What to be aware of:
- For more details visit the FBl’s fraud database, Internet Crime Complaint Center.
- Federal statute prohibits mailing lottery tickets, advertisements, or payments to purchase tickets in a foreign lottery.
- Be leery if you do not remember entering ii lottery or sweepstakes.
- Beware of lotteries or sweepstakes that chance ii fee prior to delivering your prize.
- Be wary of demands to send additional money as a requirement to be eligible for future winnings.
- Did you receive an e-mail or letter about getting a loan? Were you asked to send money for loan fees, taxes, service fees, advance payments, or any other reason? This is a scam. Do not send money to a loan company to obtain a loan. If the money is wired and received or money order/prepaid card sent and cashed they cannot be recovered. You will be at a loss for the money you have sent.
- Legitimate lottery or sweepstakes never require people to pay money upfront. Have you gotten a letter, call, or e-mail saying you won something (money or a prize), but before you can collect the prize you need to send money to pay for taxes, customs, or any fees? But, you didn’t buy a ticket or enter a sweepstakes? This is a scam. Don’t send money orders, prepaid cards, or transfer money to people who are stating you have “won” something but need to send them funds to collect your winnings.
- Newspaper ads
- Have you found something for sale in the classifieds or any type of newspaper ad? Did they ask you to pay for the item through a wire transfer or a money order/prepaid card? This is a SCAM. It is not safe to send a cash form of payment, like wire transfer, money order, or prepaid card to purchase an item from a stranger. And never go alone to purchase a cash-only item from a stranger. Always check references and meet in a public location.
- Refund scams
- Did you receive a call from someone claiming to work with the FTC? Was the caller promising to help you get a refund from the agency? This is a SCAM. Never send money or provide bank account numbers and other sensitive information to those promising you refunds. Remember; the FTC doesn’t make outgoing phone calls to contact people, they don’t ask consumers to provide banking or sensitive information, they don’t ask you to send money, and if refunds are part of an FTC settlement, the FTC provides the funds by check. Even if the Caller ID says the name of an organization you recognize or trust, be skeptical. Scammers will use technology that can display legitimate numbers which coerce you into responding.
- Relative in need
- Did you receive a phone call from a grandchild or a family member? Or a “lawyer” or “police officer” there with your family member? Are they in despair because they have been detained in Canada or Mexico for not having a fishing license or for having a protected fish or fruit? Have they been in a car accident? Are they asking for money to pay fines or for car repair? Did a relative call because they need money for a family member in medical need or for medicine? THIS IS A SCAM. Use precaution when sending money in any of these situations. These callers can request that you send money anywhere in the world. If you cannot verify with your family member (calling their number you had before this call, not the “new number” the caller gives you) that they are requesting money and aren’t sure about the transaction, do not send the money. You will be at a loss for any money that is sent.
- Did you meet someone through a personal ad, e-mail, chat room or an instant message? Did they ask you to send them money for travel or to help them financially? Do not send any form of cash, wire transfer, money orders or prepaid cards – this is a scam. Any money received by this person cannot be recovered and you will be at loss for any money sent.
- Sending money to a stranger
- Fidelity Express never recommends sending money to a stranger. Any monies received by a stranger cannot be recovered and unfortunately, you will not be refunded.
- Fidelity Express Money Orders are a safe and secure way to send money to someone you know and trust.
Consumer Fraud Agencies
There are several organizations that provide information to help protect you from fraud.
If you believe you may be a victim of fraud or you suspect fraud on a Fidelity Express transaction that has not yet been received, please contact our Consumer Care team at 800-621-8030.
Federal Trade Commission – When the FTC was created in 1914, its purpose was to prevent unfair methods of competition in commerce as part of the battle to “bust the trusts.” Over the years, Congress passed additional laws giving the agency greater authority to police anticompetitive practices. In 1938, Congress passed a broad prohibition against “unfair and deceptive acts or practices.” Since then, the Commission also has been directed to administer a wide variety of other consumer protection laws, including the Telemarketing Sales Rule, the Pay-Per-Call Rule and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act. In 1975, Congress gave the FTC the authority to adopt industry-wide trade regulation rules.
Click to visit and learn more about Federal Trade Commission.
National Consumer League Fraud Center – NCL provides government, businesses, and other organizations with the consumer’s perspective on concerns including child labor, privacy, food safety, and medication information.The mission of the National Consumers League is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad.
The National Consumers League is a private, nonprofit advocacy group representing consumers on marketplace and workplace issues. We are the nation’s oldest consumer organization.
Click to visit and learn more about National Consumer League Fraud Center.
US Postal Inspection Service – The mission of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service is to support and protect the U.S. Postal Service and its employees, infrastructure, and customers; enforce the laws that defend the nation’s mail system from illegal or dangerous use; and ensure public trust in the mail.
Click to visit and learn more about US Postal Inspection Service.
Canadian Anti-Fraud Center – The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) is the central agency in Canada that collects information and criminal intelligence on such matters as mass marketing fraud (e.g., telemarketing), advance fee fraud (e.g., West African letters), Internet fraud and identification theft complaints.
Click to visit and learn more about Canadian Anti-Fraud Center.
Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force – “Financial fraud” is broad in scope, and the Task Force’s work extends to bank fraud, mortgage fraud, and other loan fraud and discrimination; securities and commodities fraud; retirement plan fraud; mail and wire fraud; tax crimes; money laundering; False Claims Act violations; and unfair competition. With over 20 federal agencies, 94 United States Attorney’s Offices, and state and local partners, the Task Force is the broadest coalition of law enforcement, investigatory and regulatory agencies ever assembled to combat financial fraud.
Click to visit and learn more about Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force.
Consumer Finance Protection Bureau – The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) regulates the offering and provision of consumer financial products or services under the federal consumer financial laws and educates and empowers consumers to make better informed financial decisions.
Frequently Asked Questions
The more you know, the safer you’ll be and less likely to become a victim of fraud.
Here are our most frequently asked fraud-related questions.
What do I do if I’ve been scammed?
Contact your local police immediately.
Report suspected incidents of over-the-phone fraud or Internet fraud by submitting an online report to the National Consumers League’s Fraud Center.
File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission or call toll free 1-877-FTC-HELP.
If you sent a Fidelity Express Money Order to a potential scammer, contact Fidelity Express at (800) 621-8030.
What do I do if I’ve been scammed online?
If you were a victim of fraud via the Internet, file a report with your local police and the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center.
If you used Fidelity Express to send money as a result of a scam, contact Fidelity Express at (800) 621-8030.
How do fraudsters fool people?
Fraudsters take advantage of your trust in people.
What are the warning signs of money transfer fraud?
Someone you don’t know asks you to wire money.
Someone asks you to deposit a check and send them back a portion of the money.
Someone pretends to be a friend or relative and calls in a crisis, asking you to wire money right away.
Someone tells you you’ve won a prize or contest that you don’t remember entering, and asks you to wire money to pay fees, taxes or customs.
Who is most at risk for wire transfer fraud?
Everyone is at risk – fraudsters target everyone. They look for people who appear to be vulnerable, don’t know about a scam, and are trusting of others.
Are there risks to money wire transfers?
Yes -when you don’t know who you are sending the money to. A wire transfer, money order or prepaid card are the same as sending cash. Once you send a wire or money order/prepaid card is cashed, it’s gone, and you can’t get it back.
Is it safe to wire money?
Yes – when you know who you are sending the money to. Money transfer is a safe, fast, convenient way to get cash to friends and family.
What is money transfer fraud or wire transfer fraud?
Money transfer fraud or wire transfer fraud both occur when scammers convince consumers to wire them money.
Consumer Fraud Prevention Phone Tips
Watch out for criminals who make phone calls to people they don’t know in order to steal.
They will pretend you know them. They will tell you convincing stories, and then they will ask you to send wire or send them money.
Follow these tips to keep yourself and your money safe!
- Know who you’re dealing with, especially if it’s about an unsolicited prize or gift offer. Don’t trust a message like: “Congratulations, you just won $1,000 in a foreign lottery!”
- Research an offer to be sure it’s real. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Remember that wiring money is like sending cash. When you send it, it’s gone – you can’t get it back.
Wire money to someone you don’t know – Never!
- Deposit a check from someone who tells you to send some of the money back to them.
- Wire money to a relative in crisis without checking out the story first. Ask questions to verify the person’s identity.
- Send money to receive money.
State Laws and Regulations
- The Commissioner of Financial Regulation for the State of Maryland will accept all questions or complaints from Maryland residents regarding Fidelity Express, NMLS# 899953 at 1100 North Eutaw Street, Suite 611, Baltimore, MD 21201, phone 888-784-0136. NMLS Consumer Access, www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org a free service for consumers to confirm that the financial-services company or professional with whom they wish to conduct business is authorized to conduct business in their state.