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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

In 2005 I was scared of1500.00 trying to get my husband home from Mexico...I believe someone had to have been working on the inside and was helping these people scam

And what about Kroger Personal Finance and US Bank.......They helped facilitate the fraud.......they knew exactly where the money went.........refused to act or act timely

I have apply for the job but they have froud and i have send money theme thorough western union bank and they told me the money is refundable.Know they are no give me back my mony $550.Plz help me

If you lost money to a scammer between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017, and you paid by Western Union, you can now ask for your money back. You must file your claim by February 12, 2018. Go to FTC.gov/WU to start the process.

Hello. I was a victim and don’t have the exact date since it was years ago along with the receivers info or date. It was a good 3200 but I do recall the exact location of where I did the money transfer, will that help anything for me to file a claim?

If you lost money to a scammer between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017, and you paid by Western Union, you can now ask for your money back. You must file your claim by February 12, 2018. Go to FTC.gov/WU to start the process. You have to file a claim by February 12, 2018.

When you file a claim, you will give details that you know about each transaction. You can include the date, location you sent from, location you sent to, amount sent and you can send copies of paper work. To start your claim, go to FTC.gov/WU

I must have clicked on something bad a few years back; I had a "virus" that threatened to steal bank info, so i naturally called the # flashing on my screen, and they remotely "fixed" it, so i thought it was legit. I thought western union was a way for foreign companies to deal, and i was freaked out and didn't waste time. i reported it after the fact. Not sure if i still have the claim info, didnt think i would ever see that $ again. needless to say i know better now, i did lots of research after that incident. they still call me to this day, a few times a week, still trying to get me to send them money!!! unbelieveable lmao

I was trying to purchase a Lexus through some people and they told me to send it through Western Union when I did I got no response and they didn't answer phone and hung up. Called Western Union to stop it but they said they already got it

Wow! Reading all of heart felt loss on money we worked hard for. I was scammed back in 2006.A friend & I were looking all over the place for African serval to add into our breeding program with Bengals my friend find a church supposedly breeding for extra money to help people in need. This was also in Nigeria. So we planned on buying two cause it wasn't unheard of. So price was $1500 So we sent through western union as requested. They sent pictures of themselves with tiny baby servals and pictures of them a nun and a priest. So we waited til animals were old enough and we got updated pictures. then came time for shipping which cost around $800 since out of country which and I've done it before. So sent money on shipping and vet expenses. Well starting getting calls emails ect needing more money something. At $4000. I stopped was done but my friend didn't believe it was scam talking with sweet old lady. They got him for 10 thousand dollars. I wonder if I could file for refund since I have no clue on paper work. Other scam was my computer froze up saying someone was trying to get my Identity and Microsoft could help me so called # on screen paid $40. Buck's watched them take full control of laptop & seemed to look as if they were fixing it. So I called lifelock and joined and have everything protected. I have had more internet problems shopping on line. So since date went back to 2004. With everything backed up and all transactions through W.U. I'm betting they couldn't get rid of all so FTC I have know doult this is going to take awhile. Think I should file a report anyway? Oh and on African thing I got a call from detective she told me these people were actually part of a gorilla group that were killing, kidnapping U.S. civilians and for me to change my # and they were monitoring all emails and calls.

If you lost money to a scammer between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017, and you paid by Western Union, you can now ask for your money back. You must file your claim by February 12, 2018. Go to FTC.gov/WU to start the process.

I got a letter from United States v. The Western Union. My question is why do I have to send my S.S. number

It's good that you're being careful about sharing your Social Security number. In this situation, the Department of Justice (DOJ) needs your Social Security number. DOJ must check with the Treasury Offset Program to verify that you don't owe any money to the federal government. It needs your Social Security number to do that.

The FTC has a webpage with questions and answers about the refunds at FTC.gov/WU. The FTC page has a link to the claim-filing page.

I was scammed in 2013/2014 How can I retrieve some of my money. all sent thru western union, still have all paper work. Please advise, Thanking you in advaance. Claudette

If you lost money to a scammer between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017, and you paid by Western Union, you can now ask for your money back. You must file your claim by February 12, 2018. Go to FTC.gov/WU to start the process. You have to file a claim by February 12, 2018.

When you file a claim, you will give details that you know about each transaction. You can include the date, location you sent from, location you sent to, amount sent and you can send copies of paper work. To start your claim, go to FTC.gov/WU

I would like to file a claim...im a victim of fraud!

If you lost money to a scammer between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017, and you paid by Western Union, you can now ask for your money back. You must file your claim by February 12, 2018. Go to FTC.gov/WU to start the process.

My mom received a western union class action lawsuit they need her s.s# is this another scam

I can' t answer questions about a class action law suit. I do know that the US Department of Justice hired the Gilardi & Company to send claim forms to people who reported losing money to Western Union. Read about the claim forms from Gilardi & Company.

It's good that your mom is being careful about sharing her Social Security number. In this situation, the Department of Justice (DOJ) needs her Social Security number. DOJ must check with the Treasury Offset Program to verify that she doesn't owe money to the federal government. It needs her Social Security number to do that.

If she lost money to a scammer between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017, and she paid by Western Union, she can now ask for her money back. She must file her claim by February 12, 2018. Go to FTC.gov/WU to start the process.

Bridgett, I filed a report on IC3 FBI site over a year ago. Do I file again? Saved all paperwork. Thank you.

Yes, you need to submit a claim through the Department of Justice-run system. To start your claim, go to FTC.gov/WU.

The claim process asks for your Social Security number. The Department of Justice (DOJ) needs your Social Security number because it must check with the Treasury Offset Program to verify that you don't owe any money to the federal government. It needs your Social Security number to do that.

When you file a claim, you will give details that you know about each transaction. You can include the date, location you sent from, location you sent to, amount sent and you can send copies of paper work .

do we have to provide copys of the transfers or are you going to get that information from western union

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

The FTC is not filing claims for people or providing copies of documents.

When you file a claim, you will give as many details as you have about each transaction. You can include the date you sent the money, location you sent from, location you sent money to, and the amount you sent. You can send copies of documents that you have.

Got ripped off for 400$ long ago... learned my lesson on ebay! But I dunno if it's western unions fault, I will still file a claim though.

can you please let me know if a letter we received from Gilardi & Co., LLC is legitimate? The letter states for us to go on line or return the claim form to get our money back from a Western Union settlement. We are always afraid to give out personal information after already being frauded out of over $5,000.00

If you lost money to a scammer between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017 and you paid by Western Union, you can now file a claim to get money back.

 

If you already reported your fraud loss to Western Union, the FTC, or another government agency, you might get a claim form in the mail. The forms will come from Gilardi & Co, which is the company DOJ hired to handle the claims. You can file your claim online – just use the Claim ID and the PIN that are on the form you get in the mail.

 

You must file a claim by February 12, 2018. Go to FTC.gov/WU to start the process.

It's good that you're being careful about sharing your personal information. In this situation, the Department of Justice (DOJ) needs your Social Security number. DOJ must check with the Treasury Offset Program to verify that you don't owe any money to the federal government. It needs your Social Security number to do that.

My mother was victim of a family emergency scam. She sent money via Western Union and MoneyGram. I saw someone asked above about how to file a claim regarding MoneyGram loss but didn't see the response. Can you please point us in the right direction?
Thank you.

If your mother lost money to a scammer between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017 and she paid by Western Union, she can file a claim to get money back. She must file a claim by February 12, 2018. Go to FTC.gov/WU to start the process.

 

The refund process is only for money sent through Western Union. Your mother report issues with MoneyGram to the  MoneyGram Customer Care Center at 1‑800‑926‑9400.

will we get a full refund or is it divided between all the people that filled.

The FTC has questions & answers about the refunds at FTC.gov/WU. The answer to your question is:

Each person’s claim must be verified by DOJ. If your claim is verified, the amount you get will depend on how much you lost and the number of people who submit valid claims.

Only the amount you transferred via Western Union is eligible for a refund. Other expenses like Western Union fees, other losses, or transfers sent through other businesses are not eligible for a refund.

How does the DOJ know whose claims are valid? I lost money several years ago. I think I remember the amount but have no proof or records of any kind. How are the claims verified? And what if I claim the wrong amount, will I be charged with fraud or worse?

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

 

If you file a claim with details about the amount you lost, DOJ’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section will compare the requests to Western Union’s records and decide whether to grant the petition. After DOJ has reviewed all petitions, approved petitioners will get payment for some or all of their approved loss. You can get more information at FTC.gov/WU.

I am in the uk, can I claim and how do I proceed, I cannot find any information, listed on the Internet

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

I have boxes of copy from western union that I sent.how can I get some forms to fill out

Go to FTC.gov/WU to start the process.

 You must file a claim by February 12, 2018.

This all started thru a dating network and a relation was started and continued for many years. He was in London and I was from the states. He had several gold mines in Ghana and he traveled back and forth. It all started when he had to travel to Cote-d'ivore. He went there to pick up a $3M check for gold he just sold; however, at the same time there was an uprising going on over there and he was shot. The nurse called me and he needed to be transferred back to Ghana; however, he needed funds for the trip. I sent the funds. It is many years later and I was still being asked for more funds. Always about health issues, and as time went on,he needed more funds to take care of hospital bills, or needed funds to ship gold here to repay me. I was always expecting to be paid back. I was expecting gold to be delivered by Fed X, as he was able to ship (wrong). He sent gold thru to England/New York/Seattle/to me. You guessed right Fed X didn't show. I went to their office and they had no record. Sometimes you get in so deep you rely on promises and it never happens. I finally said no more not another dime. I saved many of the receipts. There will be no retirement for me and I am now paying the price.

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

Please beware, Xmas season and the scammers are in full force -- NOW. A scammer telephoned me directly that I would get $7K grant from Government, just go to Western Union, and deposit $250 fee, do it now cause their office closing in one hour, etc etc. They tried to call me back 3x, when I did not respond.

Hi, How about from outside US? How can i claim the money i sent to the person that he told me he is a bank teller correspondent in my winning prize, that i need to send money for he can open a new bank account with atm as my opening fund deposit for they will send the atm soon 8f the transaction has made and he will send the atm card with the prize i won he already deposit or funded atm card for me to enjoy the winning prize i won..

You are not required to be a United States citizen or in the United States to file a claim.

All wire transfers you made within and outside of the United States through Western Union between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017, may be eligible.

You must file a claim by February 12, 2018. Go to FTC.gov/WU to start the process.

I would like to have my money back as well. I was scam from facebook..

If you lost money to a scammer between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017, and you paid by Western Union, you can now ask for your money back.

You must file your claim by February 12, 2018. Go to FTC.gov/WU to start the process.

I was scam by people from Jamaica for lottery winning,if you pay on time and they say there is a problem it's a scam.

I did not save my transaction statements. Can I Recover the records from Western UNion

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

If you sent money to a scammer via Western Union, file a claim, even if you don’t have paperwork related to your money transfer. You may still be eligible for a payment.

how can I get some paper forms to fill out.i have a lot to file

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

 

There is a link on FTC.gov/WU that takes you to the site where you can file a claim online.

I received a claim form but I need to change my name on the form. I tried calling the number provided (844) 319-2124, and emailed info@ WesternUnionRemission. com. The phone number just leads to a recording of frequently asked questions without ever giving me an opportunity to talk to someone. I sent an email and have not gotten a response in about 3 weeks. How can I get a hold of someone?

I was scammed back in 2014 I was a sales representative for Avon when I was contacted over email from a buyer from out of state they listed what they wanted and how many and said that they would be sending a check that check came and was for I believe $1,900 over and the person said that their uncle had wrote the check which had a lawyer's name and business on the check and said to Western Union the difference of the funds because the rest of it was for the wedding planner to get to the specified location for a wedding, which the Avon gifts were for being as it was a legit lawyer I looked it up and the check was legit with a watermark I put it in the bank and let it sit there for 2 days and then took the money out and sent it Western Union to be later notified that the check was fraudulent and the lawyer who identity was stolen several years back had already filed a complaint and I guess they were reissuing checks again in his name so my bank gave me money from an account that didn't exist and I had to repay back $2,000 over a period of a year being as I had to take out a loan for that money. I have filed with the police department and even had saved the mail that came from FedEx from the scammer I try to retrace from emails and phone numbers which led me nowhere. so I'm excited to know that I could get back my money

If you lost money to a scammer between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017 and you paid by Western Union, you can file a claim to get money back.

 

You must file a claim by February 12, 2018. Go to FTC.gov/WU to start the process.

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