Western Union settlement: $586 million in refunds

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You probably know that Western Union runs money transfer services in the US and worldwide. What you might not know is that, according to the FTC, Western Union has known for years that scammers were using its system to commit significant fraud. Even when faced with clear evidence that many of its agents were committing fraud, Western Union kept taking people’s money. Probably billions in fraud-related transfers, sent since January 2004. But today, in a global settlement with the FTC and the US Department of Justice, Western Union agreed to return $586 million to people and create a real and strong anti-fraud program.

So, what kind of evidence was Western Union ignoring? Well, says the FTC, from January 2004 to August 2015, the company got more than 550,000 complaints about money transfers made for fraudulent lottery and prizes, family emergency calls, advance-fee loans, online dating and more. There were its own internal reports, which flagged fraud by some of its own agents, including many international agents that paid out fraud-induced transfers from US consumers. And there were warnings from US and international law enforcement about the fraud. And yet, the money kept rolling on through.

Under the settlement, Western Union will return $586 million through a process to be named later. (Watch this space for more information.) The company will have to train and monitor its agents so that people are protected. It won’t be allowed to transmit a money transfer that it knows – or should know – is a fraud. It has to block money transfers to anyone who has a fraud report, make it easier for people to report fraud, give clear warnings to people who are sending money, and refund a fraud-related money transfer if the company didn’t comply with its own anti-fraud procedures.

If you ever wire money, also keep in mind that it’s illegal for a telemarketer to ask you to pay with a money transfer. That’s right: Illegal. Scammers love using money transfer services because once you send the money, it’s gone forever. So, if a telemarketer asks you to wire money, already you know they’re a crook. Don’t wire the money, and then tell the FTC.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

I am a victim of identity theft, scam and fraud. I wish to file a claim.

I am seriously hurted by identity thefts and scammers i am a victim and fraud.i need to file a claim.

I was a victim of fraud this past July 2016. I filed a claim so i hope to be one of the victims who receive something back if not all.

I was told too wired $250 for my free government grant of $4,000 never received anything why is that!!!

look like same thing here. I was told too wired $250 for my free government grant of $8,250.00. finally, I spend $8,250.00 for iTunes gift card them.( Federal reserve bank of New York) phone number 315.87.7881 Amanda williams.

This happened to me today and I used iTunes cards also. How do I get refunded 1600.00

If you gave someone the code from an iTunes card and you think it was a scam, call Apple Support at 1-800-275-2273 right away. You might have to wait on hold for some time.

Tell the person at Apple what happened. Ask if they can disable the card. Also, go back to the store that sold you the card and talk with their customer service staff. Ask if they can refund you for the cards you bought.

If you told the scammer the numbers from the back of the card, the scammer took control of the value. You probably can't get the value back.

This happened to me I spent the last of my money I thought was for a house did u get anything back

The Department of Justice is developing a refund process, and we will post more information when we have it.

Meanwhile, if you used Western Union to send money to a scammer, you can report it to Western Union’s complaint department at 1-800-448-1492 or online.

Make a note of the date you filed the complaint with Western Union. Be sure to keep any documents you have about the scam and the money transfer.

This happened to me with Western Union, it was very upsetting. However, this was maybe 6 or 7 yrs ago, what do you do if you don't have the form / proof? I received an email recently saying I'd be compensated but now I'm not sure what to believe..help.

The Department of Justice is developing a refund process, and we will post more information when we have it. The process didn't start yet.

Meanwhile, if you used Western Union to send money to a scammer, you can report it to Western Union’s complaint department at 1-800-448-1492 or online.

If you get more email that asks for personal details or bank account numbers, don't give out information.

When the Department of Justice starts the refund process, the FTC will publish information here so the public can read about it.

This is awesome !!! But how will Western Union stop scammers!?

Under the settlement, Western Union has to train and monitor its agents so that people are protected. It won’t be allowed to transmit a money transfer that it knows – or should know – is a fraud. It has to block money transfers to anyone who has a fraud report, make it easier for people to report fraud, give clear warnings to people who are sending money, and refund a fraud-related money transfer if the company didn’t comply with its own anti-fraud procedures.

I filed a claim with FTC and western union. I hope to get my money back or least a larger portion of it. I was very vulnerable and trusting during that time. I am a caregiver for my husband so i had dreams of a better life for my family. The fact that Western Union knew and continued to send and receive money is deceitful. The WU rep stated that most of the names I gave him were fraudulent.

Hi Bridget, What about "MoneyGram"? I was scammed out of several thousand dollars and the scammer used both "Western Union" and MoneyGram. The scammer loved "MoneyGram" and had friends that worked there as agents!
Is the FTC going after "MoneyGram" too?
Also, when the settlement from Western Union is completed how and when to we get out money back?
Thank you for helping us with this terrible crime. Scammers are horrible!

The FTC has an update about the Western Union refund process.

The US Department of Justice is going to handle the process of getting money back to people, after it finishes more work on the case. The FTC has more information.

For now, if you have paperwork related to your money transfers, keep it. You might need it later for the the claims process. You can sign up for email updates (link is external) to be sure you are notified about the claims process.

Has the DOJ developed its refund process yet? How do I find it?

The FTC has an update about the Western Union refund process.

The US Department of Justice is going to handle the process of getting money back to people, after it finishes more work on the case. The FTC has more information.

For now, if you have paperwork related to your money transfers, keep it. You might need it later for the the claims process. You can sign up for email updates (link is external) to be sure you are notified about the claims process.

Was scammed by western union of 1081 dollars for selling something online in 2014 or 2015 and I reported it and it caused a heartship for me. Thank you

On 12/08/2016 @ 11:45 AM (local time), I paid WU (Western Union) $1,999.20 as a condition through Publishers Clearing House and a subsequent sweepstakes award of $500,000 to be delivered by courier the following Friday.The sponsores, Publiahers Clearing house,then stated they needed another $4,000.

You do know this scam had NO connection with PCH other than using the name, etc... Publishers Clearing House NEVER asks for upfront money ...

The Department of Justice is developing a refund process, and we will post more information when we have it.

Meanwhile, if you used Western Union to send money to a scammer, you can report it to Western Union’s complaint department at 1-800-448-1492 or online.

Make a note of the date you filed the complaint with Western Union. Be sure to keep any documents you have about the scam and the money transfer.

I was a victim. For 2,999 and now im being sued for almost 5,000 now because i wired money through Western Union. I need any help

Please read this update about Western Union.

The US Department of Justice will run a refund process, but the process has not started yet.

Right now, you can:             

  • Keep any paperwork you have. Keep money transfer receipts and other papers related to the scam, in case you need it to file your claim. 
  • Don’t pay anyone who promises to get you a Western Union refund in return for money.
  • Read the FTC’s or Department of Justice's Frequently Asked Questions.
  • Sign up for email updates about Western Union refunds.

Wow that's sad! I'm trying to figure out how these scammers get the mtcn numbers and the question and answers put on there without getting it from the sender in order to steal thier money? They must be paying someone that is a real agent working for Western Union to look up the paper sent with all of those earlier mentioned information and mtcn numbers so the scammers can steal money sent.. Has to be..anyone else know anything else of my original question here? Thanks

To whom it may concern Hello I sent three messages to Western Union that a big scammer is victimizing me by fake email and I deposited 8000 USD through Western Union in New Delhi and told that the one or few Western Union stuff in New Delhi are cooperating with the hustler but they did not answer me. The name of scammer is Christopher Hutchinson which I send you his passport so please give my money back due to documentary. Regards

I am victimized by fraud,scammer and identity theft who used to show fake passport of a Canadian citizen to Western Union staff in New Delhi-India and stolen more than 8000 USD of my Thirty years of hard working of my savings. I do`t want to insult the Western Union staff but the question is why did`t check the correctness and accuracy of the scammer passport? I filed claims to Western Union,UN,IMF and everywhere that guessed they may consider or investigate this fraudulence but nobody answer me to prevent other innocent people not to be victim by scam again.Now,it is supposed to refund the whole or a part of our money. Please supervise and control your staff in India because %98 of scammer are from there.Where can I send the documentary evidence with the date and hour of money delivery to scammer meanwhile the cameras in branches can be seen and identify the scammer.Please help me to reach my money.I pray for you

I got scammed several times last year from someone I met on Facebook and I used Western Union but I never have reported it, because I still talk to this person through text massaging and wanted to get more evidence . I feel like the most dumbest person in the world and the worst part is She or whoever broke my heart and I have been so depressed ever since. I even got a fake check from them for $1980 it came from the Bronx in NY but the check was from a credit union in Texas, they even gave me the tracking number so I could see where it was at and how soon I would get it. So I thought it was real and deposited in a new bank that I had just opened up an account then I found out it was fake, later on my mother had an account at the same bank and her account got hacked into along with mine. I have not filed a police report because it is so embarrassing and I know most of the police also I wanted to try to get more evidence from them. And the person who scammed me is a International Porn Star that I found out later after I sent them the money, and I sent the money to different places but most of it to Nigeria and I done a reverse phone number check and it showed the phone no was out of Roseville Michigan but I was sending money to Nigeria and this makes no since to me. Then just a few weeks ago I got scammed again from someone who is selling medications without a prescription I used Western Union and sent in total of $850 to them and they emailed me supposedly UPS forms that told the arrival of the package to the Airport close to me and it was supposed to arrive the next morning before noon and it never showed up then later in the day I got another email from UPS saying it would arrive by the next morning. So I waited and it did not show and the person I bought it from kept texting me all through this wanting to know if I had gotten the package yet. Then early that evening I got another email from UPS saying that since it was sent discreet that it needed insurance paid on it within 48 hours and if this was not done within this timeframe it would be turned over to the authorities so they could look inside to see what it was, well the insurance that was to be paid on it was $900 and I texted the person who sent it and told him this and he was afraid of getting into trouble so he said that he had $475 and if I could come up with the rest it would be ok and to send it to him so I did and he texted me saying that UPS would email me another slip saying what time I would get the package . Then later that night I had someone that texted me saying he was a Detective and was with the drug enforcement unit and that the person who I had bought from they had been watching him and wanted to know how he was selling these drugs and if I did not cooperate I would be looking at prison time. These people have a great way of scamming they are good very good, I ran the phone number that the Detective texted from and it was in Delaware but if you see a place where you can buy online drugs without a prescription do not even try to buy from them I found them thru Twitter and I texted them back saying I was going to post on Twitter and other Social sites that they were scammers and not to buy from them, and they texted me back threating me that if I did there would be hell to pay. But I have this app called been Varified and I even had there adderess where they lived so I texted there adderess back to them saying I know where you live and some night I might come to there home and get my money back and then my revenge and they have not texted me back so far

I filled a complaint with the FTC years ago and haven't got anything but a call from the FBI asking questions about the case I have videos also receipt for this money transfer through western union and haven't seen any help yet like really a total bummer

The Department of Justice is developing a refund process, and we will post more information when we have it.

Meanwhile, if you used Western Union to send money to a scammer, you can report it to Western Union’s complaint department at 1-800-448-1492 or online.

Make a note of the date you filed the complaint with Western Union. Be sure to keep any documents you have about the scam and the money transfer.

Thank you Bridget. This is wonderful news, as I was scammed through Western Union back in 2003 for concert tickets, but the real serious issue was that I selected the "security password" needed option for the funds to be released, along with the Western Union location to pick up the funds, BOTH of which Western Union did not adhere to, allowing the scammer to receive the funds from a Western Union convenience store machine over 500 miles away from the selected location. I had direct email contact with a Western Union "Security Manager"(William something) and a phone call, wherein he dismissed all responsibility for either of the supposed Western Union precautionary options the system offered. I had a folder with all those communications but in a recent attempt to clean up my files I think I may have given up, tossing that file. How may I find out if I am on a Western Union complaint list and or how I can be part of this future refund program? Thank you.

I was scamned a few years ago $2000.00 via Western Union.
How do I find out if I am on Western Union list? How and where do I file a complaint?

The Western Union update has information about how the Department of Justice (DOJ) is handling the refunds.

You can read the FTC or DOJ Frequently Asked Questions to learn more. Sign up for email updates about Western Union refunds.

I WAS A VICTIM, OF A SECRET SHOPPER WESTERN UNION SCAM IN 2012. AM I ELIGIBLE FOR A REFUND?

The Department of Justice is developing a refund process related to this case, so Western Union can return $586 million to people. The FTC will post more information about that process when we have it.

There is something you can do now. If you used Western Union to send money to a scammer, you can report it to Western Union’s complaint department at 1-800-448-1492 or online.

When you file the complaint with Western Union, make a note of the date you file. Keep all the documents you have about the scam and the money transfer.

I have used WU for lot of years, some of my credit cards have been used by unnamed people. I started getting emails and phone calls telling me WU had money to deliver to me. I never received anything. Think I may have gotten rid of them finally this past week-end.

i am also a victim of spoofing. i would like to file a claim.

The US Department of Justice is going to handle the process of getting money back to people, after it finishes more work on the case. The FTC has more information.

For now, if you have paperwork related to your money transfers, keep it. You might need it later for the the claims process. You can sign up for email updates (link is external) to be sure you are notified about the claims process.

Hey Harriet my name is sugarj how do I file a c about western union to claim my money back

I'm a victim of identify theft and more and I want to file claim I get emails and phone calls from sites I haven't signed up on and from collectors wanting payment on credit cards and student loans that I haven't got I'm sick of these damn calls

Get help at IdentityTheft.gov. You can file a report to law enforcement, create a personal account, create a recovery plan and print the letters and forms you need to notify businesses, lenders and others.

So I was just scammed through Western Union (a wire transfer to a "company" that told me I was due a refund of $99.99) last Friday, January 12, 2017, out of $879.99. Is there any chance I can get THAT money back, or is this settlement only for scams that occurred before August 2015.

So happy to see these people caught. I will be watching for further information. Thank you.

I used Western Union twice and am owed compensation.

The Department of Justice is developing a refund process, and we will post more information when we have it.

Meanwhile, if you used Western Union to send money to a scammer, you can report it to Western Union’s complaint department at 1-800-448-1492 or online.

Make a note of the date you filed the complaint with Western Union. Be sure to keep any documents you have about the scam and the money transfer.

I was scammed this way several years back. It was for an advance loan and used my rent money to send. It was a very expensive and painful lesson and I was out a lot of money :-(

Don't feel like you were the only one. They got me for almost 4000.00! I hope we can see some restitution out of this.

Yes I have set money because they said that I needed to pay for the Delivery.

I have been confronted with several of these types of actions and even went along with a couple of them

Thank you - I wish I had been better prepared after my husband died. I got scammed a couple of times when I thought it was legitimate - obviously not thinking straight. Lost at least 25-30k. Figured I would never see it again. Hard lesson to learn as a widow still struggling to pay off personal loans and bills 6 years later.

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