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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 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 got scammed on house loan for 5000 dollars

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.

I was told that I would be receiving $9,700. If I wired at $250. Steam Card...? I thought that was weird and didn't have the funds anyway, so I told the representative to go fly a kite..in a nice way of course.

I was scammed last year 1/2/2017,I wish to file a claim again

You must file a claim by February 12, 2018. You can file a claim if you lost money to a scammer between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017 and you paid by Western Union. Go to FTC.gov/WU to start.

I got scammed out if over $12,000 by a man who said he was in Egypt. Only a small portion went through Western Union. Is the FTC going after Money Gram too? How do I sign up for updates about that?

The FTC does not have a settlement and refund process related to MoneyGram.

Claims.....my money order....provide cash advance.....

I WAS SCRAM FOR 4000 IN MONEY OREDR FRAUD WORK LIKE TSEE SOME OF THAT MONEY BACK THIS IS BAD FOR PEOPLE

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.

Please tell us how we might avail ourselves of this settlement. My father was victimized out of $50k by the Jamaican Sweepstakes Scam. He used the Western Union services and the "Moneygram and other wire transfer services. Thank you for pursuing this settlement!

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.

WHEN CAN I RECEIVE RESTITUTION?

I never thought this wou effected by harassing phone call dropping sex emails ... hacked my messenger nasty attitude due to my threat to call FTC...phone call in acess of 25 in one day to receive my identity information to receive governments grant... i am disabled and callers hdid have some info by hacking nasty attitude with threatening nature..yes i should recognized

Wonder what all will be covered under this?

I get message I won money every day but have not received any money.

So there is where my house payments and my Car Payments went at which time made me lose my Home and my Car at different times !! I was really shocked to see this because they would tell me the number I had was not valid when I would call back with my payment information. It's a great day for Justice.

I was scammed through a company in Florida two and a half years ago. I sent over 700 thru Western Union. HOW DO I FILE A CLAIM???

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 reported online dating fraud in December to the FBI and FTC. The money was wired from my bank to another and I have all the paper work to prove it. 27K. I don't have this kind of money to pay tax and penalty on this kind of money. It was a total scam. My son found the guy on malescammers  and one of the email addresses came from Africa. He has several different aliases and several pictures and complaints on malescammers.com. A wire investigation was done by my bank and of course, nothing.

I know I need the money that I have been sending to NY for over 8 years

How do i go about getting 350.00 i was scammed out of.

I was one of those scammed, and reported it to the FTC, although I have heard nothing from the FTC on it yet. I did learn a good lesson.

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.

so Billions in fraud and they pay only ~586 million in a process to be named later. And they say crime doesn't pay

They had me for $ 500.00 with a wire transfer from one wedtern union office to another. Since the scammers used Western Union on both sides I really believed it was a valid and legal transaction

More great news for crooks ! Make " billions in fraud" and only pay back $586 million and never go to jail !!!

I was scammed out of my checking account for 2200.00 last year in Oct or November. I have been in ICU since Dec 13th so have not been at my computer till today. I would like to file a claim. Thank you...

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.

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