VIRGINIA BEACH -- MoneyGram, a money transfer company, is fighting back against the criminals who give their company a bad name.
Often, thieves target unsuspecting victims with stories that lure them into wiring money, which turns out to be a scam.
'We hate it when fraudsters use our services to perpetrate fraud,' says MoneyGram spokesperson, Mike Gutierrez.
The company is sending out a warning to social media users to be careful over the summer months and don't post vacation photos online while you're still out of town. Revealing too much about your travels can serve as an invitation to criminals who will then target the loved ones you've left at home.
A popular scam is to send an email claiming to be a person in trouble while out of town and in desperate need of money. MoneyGram calls these type of scams 'family scams.'
According to research, in Virginia, victims lost an average of $1,390 each on family scams. The average loss in Virginia Beach was $621, $1800 in Chesapeake and $1900 in Norfolk.
Gutierrez says MoneyGram is particularly concerned about the elderly. 'Usually the elderly are very trusting people and these criminals, through various types of tactics, will pressure the elderly into sending them money.'
MoneyGram advises social media users to wait until returning home before posting vacation photos online and if you are the recipient of an email from a family member claiming to be in trouble, make every effort to contact them before wiring money.