Getting your money back from Western Union

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Did you lose money to a scammer who had you pay using Western Union between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017? If so, you can now ask for your money back – and you have until February 12, 2018 to file your claim.

Earlier this year, we told you about the FTC’s settlement with Western Union, which agreed to return $586 million to people to settle the FTC’s charges that Western Union hadn’t adequately protected people from fraud, and didn’t properly discipline problem agents.

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) is handling the refunds – or “remission,” as they call it. Here’s what you need to know:

  • 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 were just mailed today and 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.
  • If you didn’t already report your loss, or you don't get a claim form in the mail, go online to file your claim. Start at FTC.gov/WU to get to the claims website.
  • If you’re putting in a new claim, or changing the pre-filled amount on the claim form you got in the mail, you’ll be asked for documentation. Upload – or send copies of – the receipts or transfer send forms you have, and give as many details as you can remember about the transfer. If you don’t have documentation, you can still complete the form and give as much information as you have. DOJ will use the information you give them to try to validate your Western Union money transfer.
  • The claim forms ask for your Social Security number (SSN). That’s because, before they can send you a check, DOJ is required to see whether you owe money to the US government. For that they need your SSN. That’s why we’re suggesting filing your claim on the secure website.

You do not have to pay to get your money back. Don’t pay anyone who says they can file a claim for you. And nobody will ever call you to ask for your bank account or credit card number. It’s free to file your claim form, and you can only do it online or by mail. Find the claim form and the only real address that accepts claims at FTC.gov/WU.

And then: patience. It will take DOJ up to a year to validate all the claims it gets and return money to people. Check FTC.gov/WU for updates.

Infographic of ghow to get a refund from Western Union

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If you used Western Union to send money to a scammer between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017, you can file a claim to get your money back. You can file a claim online, by starting at FTC.gov/WU or at the US Department of Justice website.

You said you went online and filed a report. Did you file a claim at FTC.gov/WU or the US Department of Justice website? If you want to ask for a refund, you must file a claim before February 12, 2018.

When you file a claim online, you can upload electronic copies of paper documents you have. If you already submitted your claim online and you have questions, call the Administrator at 844-319-2124 .

I've seen others ask this question but haven't seen an answer. I unfortunately was a victim & sent money through Western Union but also sent money through MoneyGram. Unfortunately way more money I lost through MoneyGram. Is there anything can do for filing a remission for those?

This refund process is a result of the settlement between Western Union, the Federal Trade Commission, the US Department of Justice and other law enforcement agencies.  The refund process is related to the settlement and is designed to allow people who used Western Union to send money between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017, to seek a refund.

How do I get an update on my claim?

DOJ will try to verify your claim. If your claim is verified, you might get some money back. It might take one year.

Is there anyway to check if they received the claim or if you are approved or denied. I lost money. Received mail. Sent the claim both by mail and electronically but I need to know if I'm waiting for my money to be returned or just waiting on vain.

It will take DOJ up to a year to validate all the claims it gets and return money to people. You can check at FTC.gov/WU for updates.

What if it was in may of 2017? My father is out a ridiculous amount of money that a scammer has scammed him from through WU (over 40k+) Can we still submit a claim? He has police reports and every single receipt

The FTC settlement with Western Union is for people who lost money between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017. Your father is not eligible to submit a claim for a refund from the settlement.

He can contact the Western Union Fraud Hotline at 800-448-1492 and report the scam to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information he reports to the FTC will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations. He could also contact the Attorney General in his home state.

My dad had dementia turned Alzheimer's when he passed 3 weeks ago. He was scammed over a 4 year period and lost over 500k, nobody could stop the bleeding of bank withdrawals from 2011 to 2015. until a guardian was appointed because of incompetency. All mail was sent to guardian which being a sneaky lawyer said he didn't receive a Claim ID. My dad would have never sent these fools money in his right mind. I need help and like really badly. We are trying recover and restore some of my dads dignity. These POS scammers took advantage of my dads mental state and it cost my family everything, 2 houses, all bank accounts, 401k. We have hundreds of transaction receipts and western union has in their database complete listings of all transactions as well. WE NEED A CLAIM ID and fast

You can file a claim for another person if:

  • you represent their estate,
  • you have power of attorney for the claimant, or
  • you are an attorney, and provide a signed document that says you represent the claimant and have permission to file on his or her behalf.

You do not need a claim ID to file a request for a refund. The DOJ administrator sent pre-filled claim forms and IDs to people who had previously filed complaints about losing money. If your father had not filed a complaint about losing money, he might not have gotten a pre-filled claim form and ID.

You must file a claim by May 31, 2018. Go to FTC.gov/WU to start the process.

Has the fling date changed?

Yes the deadline to file your claim was just extended to May 31, 2018.

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 May 31, 2018. Go to FTC.gov/WU to start the process.

Seems like the goalposts are being moved. Is there an explanation of why the change took place? Will those who complied with the original requirement be compensated at a different rate than those who delayed their filing?

The deadline to file a claim has been extended to May 31, 2018.

As explained at FTC.gov/WU, 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.

Understand the filing date has changed, WHY was it changed?

It was moved from February to May and as I understand it, I may not get back 5000 $ at all, because I will say that there are too many people.I can only dream of a return.

I think it would be a good idea to make a public notice of this Western Union claim again I just became aware of this yesterday and I could have lost out possibly on the money I sent to a scammer that claimed the were my grandson in jail. I will be so grateful if I receive any of my money back.

My step-father sent every cent my mother and he had, $584,000.00 USD overseas via Western Union and SunTrust Bank through about 50 transactions. He thought he had won sweepstakes. We filed police reports. The local police, TBI, and FBI were involved... and yet I learned of this settlement by coincidence last night. I have all the records, but the Western Union paper records from 2014 have deteriorated badly, and the printing is difficult to read. I've called the FTC administrator phone number, and though you can listen to a recording, there is no way to speak to a human being. I've called Western Union to request duplicates, and ironically had to speak with the call center located in the Philippines... and this is where he wired all their money to scammers, so that's a little scary. Western Union is not being slightly helpful in assisting in obtaining duplicate records... Does anyone have a U.S. Customer Service number to request duplicate records? Is Western Union under any obligation to provide duplicate records? My mother is living on a modest social security check because my step-father was taken advantage of and lost everything they had. SunTrust's position was... that it isn't their fault that someone who had banked there for more than 20 years wired all his money overseas... Western Union may have established a settlement, but they don't seem inclined to help people meet the claim deadline. Any advice would be appreciated.

The deadline to file a claim has been extended to May 31, 2018.

Your step-father can submit a claim related to the money he sent to scammers through Western Union between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017. He can file a claim even if he doesn't have all the paperwork related to the money transfers. He may still be eligible for a payment. 

The FTC has information about the claim filing process at FTC.gov/WU. You can connect from FTC.gov/WU directly to the claim filing website. The claim filing website asks for personal information, including a Social Security number.  FTC.gov/WU gives you a secure connection to the claim filing website.

The claim filing website is run by the US Department of Justice's redress administrator. The website has additional questions and answers and contact information.

Thanks for the response Ms. Small. My step-father is dead and I'm executor of the estate. I've been through the FTC and DOJ sites and information re: this settlement. I don't believe a claim can be considered valid without proper documentation... it can be submitted, but that doesn't mean it's valid. My parents didn't just have a Western Union transaction or 2 that I can reasonably guess at for a couple thousand dollars... there are a lot of transaction totaling more than a half-million dollars. Again, is Western Union under any FTC/DOJ obligation to provide timely and appropriate duplicate records documenting past transactions to consumers? Thanks.

The FTC settlement with Western Union does not require the company to give people copies of transaction records. People can file claims even if they don’t have paperwork related to the  money transfers. Your step-father's estate may still be eligible for a payment. 

I filed a claim in December, is there a place that I can check the status of the claim?

My mother sent over $300,000 from 2009 thru 2012...destroying there retirement funds. meanwhile, our Father became depressed and passed away from heart failure after finding out about Mothers gifting. Since then our family had broken away from each other and haven’t spoken to each other in years....These scammers should burn in hell...

I receaved a letter saying western union was going to give me my money back from a scam sent police report like they asked never got a reply whats up with that

You can't get money back from the Western Union settlement by sending a police report.

If you want to ask for money back, you have to file a claim on the US Department of Justice claim website. You have to file by May 31, 2018. To start filing your claim, go to FTC.gov/WU.

Read the questions and answers on FTC.gov/WU. You can click on the orange button at the top of that page. You will be connected to the U.S. Department of Justice claim filing website. If you want to ask for money back, you have to file a claim there.

What if I have some Western Union receipt that I am not able to see the amount or the number.

You can file a claim file a claim, even if you don’t have all the paperwork related to your money transfer. You may still be eligible for a payment.

Tell as many details as you remember about the dates you sent money, where you were when you sent money, and the place you sent money to. You can attach electronic copies of the receipts you have. It's OK if you can't see all the numbers. You must file your claim by May 31, 2018.

I filed a claim using the letter I received in the mail with a claim ID and PIN on November 28th, 2017. I then filled out all my information and selected the option that said "I agree to the amount listed". I was later informed I could check the status of my claim by entering my ID and PIN again on the remission website but all I get is a message that says "A claim has already been submitted with this ID". Can you please tell me if there is a way to check the status of my claim online using my ID and PIN just in case my request is processed in less than a year since I filed early and did not opt to dispute the amount lost?

For information about the remission process:

What if I received a claim number but no login PIN? Do I have to do anything if I have only submitted electronically! Thank you.

If you received a claim form by postal mail from the U.S. Department of Justice and Gilardi & Co, LLC, it should have your:

  • Claim #
  • Claim ID
  • PIN

You can:

If you want to ask for money back, you must submit a claim by May 31, 2018. You can submit the claim by postal mail or by going to FTC.gov/WU.

I paper filed a package about a month ago. Should I receive have received something from Gilardi in response?

For information about the remission process:

I don't understand why we need to use or SS#. with all the fraud going around today who's to say that it will not happen again with them asking for our SS#.

Before DOJ can send you a refund, it must check with the Treasury Offset Program to verify that you don't owe any money to the federal government. DOJ needs your Social Security number to do that. If you owe money, your refund amount could be reduced by the amount you owe.

You can connect directly to the claim filing website from this FTC government page: FTC.gov/WU.

How soon do you get refund back if you mailed form back in mid to end January?

It may take up to a year to process and verify people’s claims and determine who is eligible to get a payment. We will update the information on FTC.gov/WU when we have more information.

I was scammed in November, 2017. Is it likely that there will be another remission lodged?

You can report a scam that happened in November 2017 to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint and to Western Union's Fraud Hotline at 800-448-1492.

can I claim for money transfer with WU for gambling oversea?

The refund money is available because of a legal settlement between the Federal Trade Commission and Western Union.

If you used Western Union to send money to a scammer between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017,  you can file a claim to ask for money back. The kind of scams that are covered by this legal settlement include:

  • Internet scams – you did not receive items you tried to buy online
  • Lottery or prize scams – you were told you won a lottery or sweepstakes, and sent money, but never got the prize
  • Emergency or grandparent scams – you sent money to someone who pretended to be a relative who needed money for an emergency
  • Advance-fee loan scams – you paid fees in advance, but did not get the loan the company promised to you
  • Online dating and romance scams – you sent money to someone who created a fake profile on a dating or social networking website.

Learn more at FTC.gov/WU

i understand it taking so long i've waited almost 10 years but why the big extension for over 3 months from the first one i filed my claim over 4 months ago im guessing there not going to even start processing any refunds until after may now .. i could really use my 2 grand back i went threw the court for over a year over this crap tons of lawyer fees i'm happy to get my loss back even tho it will never cover everything

What if it was after those dates? my dates were after

You can report what happened to the FTC at FTC.gov/Complaint, and to the wire transfer company you used. Call the Western Union Fraud Hotline at 800-448-1492 or MoneyGram Customer Care Center at 1‑800‑926‑9400.

If the scammer contacted you through a website, for example a dating website or product sales website, you can report the problem to that site.

Hello, My father has lost money to scammers in Ghanna, all transmitted via Western Union. We lreside in Australia. Is it too late to submit a claim.

If your father used Western Union to send money to a scammer between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017, there is still time to file a claim. He must file by May 31, 2018.

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

Go to FTC.gov/WU for more information about the process. You can start to submit a claim by clicking on a button on the FTC.gov/WU page.

So why was the remission deadline extended from February 2018 to May? Is the DOJ trying to kick this can down the road? I got my forms in ASAP and don't want my refund delayed until everyone else get their act together. It is my hope that they deadline is being extended because there's still a lot of money out there of the $586 million since not that many people submitted their form.

I found WU extremely helpful. I submitted the names of the recipients of my generosity together with my own (sender's) name and address and they located all the records of the transfers that I made to the scum. I was then able to provide a fully detailed account of all the fraudulent transactions to the remission claim website and they have acknowledged them. Just the wait now....

I AM AN OLDER GENTLEMAN AGE 63 I WAS TARGETED BY PEOPLE WHO TOLD ME I WON A MILLION DOLLARS AND A MERCEDES, ALL I HAD TO DO WAS PAY TAXES ON IT I PAID OVER $12,000 BETWEEN APRIL 2017 AND DEC 2017 THRU WESTERN UNION IM ON A LIMITED INCOME CAN I GET HELP TO GET SOME OF MY MOBEY BACK! I LEARNED THE HARD WAY ABOUT SCAMS.

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