You or your family, friends, or associates, may wire money directly to a U.S. citizen abroad by contacting Western Union, MoneyGram, or other similar commercial money transfer services with offices in the Dominican Republic. There are money transfer cost comparison tools online to help you identify your best option. The person receiving the money will need to present proof of identity, such as a passport.
Over the past year, US Embassy Santo Domingo has received a surge of reports of money-transfer scams originating in the Dominican Republic. The Embassy urges extreme caution before wiring any money to cover requested bail payments or injury claims.
The scam works as follows: the victim, usually residing in the United States, will receive a call from an imposter claiming to be either a direct family member, usually a grandchild or nephew, a travel companion accompanying the family member, a lawyer, or a US Embassy official. The caller will state that they recently traveled to the Dominican Republic on short notice and are currently experiencing legal problems. The imposter and involved collaborators will attempt to trick the victim into wiring a large sum of money to a private account to cover the alleged legal expenses. Once the money has been sent and withdrawn, it cannot be recovered.
If you receive a call involving a request for money due to an arrest or hospitalization in the Dominican Republic, please exercise caution before transmitting any money. Get as much information as possible from the caller while they are on the line. Immediately try to verify if the supposed victim is in Dominican Republic by calling his/her family members or friends. If you are unable to verify his/her welfare, call the US Embassy and provide the information you have collected. While the Embassy cannot provide legal advice or services, we are available at all times to assist U.S. citizens in an emergency situation and can check with Dominican authorities to verify if a U.S. citizen has been arrested. If an individual claiming to be from the US Embassy is demanding money for the safekeeping of the supposed victim, this person is an imposter.