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TOM SAKASHSTAFF NEWSWRITER

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New MoneyGram fraud tool saved 22.5M since May
DALLAS (3/14/11)--Money transfer solution provider MoneyGram International has a new tool in the war against fraud: a software system that monitors sent transactions and identifies transfers that could involve fraud, enabling MoneyGram to intervene and prevent its customers from losing money to fraudsters. Since the tool launched in May, MoneyGram reports it has saved its customers about $22.5 million. MoneyGram is a CUNA Strategic Services provider. The anti-fraud tool is a rules-based automated IBM software system that analyzes the transaction data from MoneyGram’s money transfer system. Based on consumer identity management and transaction rules, the system identifies potentially fraudulent transactions and provides instant alerts after the transaction has been placed. MoneyGram can then put the transaction on hold, contact the original sender, and if needed, stop the fraudulent transaction from being received. Since its launch, the anti-fraud technology has enabled the company to prevent consumer fraud on a large scale. Examples are:
* Consumer complaints of fraud in January 2011 compared to January 2010 dropped 72%, with the most significant reductions in Canada, Nigeria, U.S. and the United Kingdom; * From February 2010 to January 2011, the anti-fraud technology accounted for a 40% increase in MoneyGram’s ability to identify and interrupt potentially fraudulent transactions; and * For the first two months of 2011, MoneyGram identified and interrupted 2,200 transactions suspected of fraud, saving its customers from losing more than $7 million.
Also, MoneyGram offers these tips for consumer wire fraud protection:
* Never wire money to someone you don’t know; * Never agree to deposit a check from someone who says to send some of the money back; * Never wire money to someone who says money transfer is the only acceptable form of payment; * Never wire money to a relative in crisis without checking out the story first. Ask the appropriate questions to verify the identity of the person; * Know the source of where an unsolicited prize or gift offer comes from and who you’re dealing with. For example, if you receive a message that says: “Congratulations, it's your lucky day! You just won $1,000 in a foreign lottery!” Be wary, especially if you knowingly didn’t enter a sweepstakes or lottery. Further, never pay to collect sweepstakes winnings; * Research the legitimacy of an offer; if it sounds too good to be true, it often is; and * Wiring money is like sending cash; the sender has no protection against loss.
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