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FTC cases returned $483 million to people in 2020

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You may know the FTC for its consumer information, and for taking action against shady companies that violate the law. But did you know the FTC returns millions of dollars to people as a result of those actions? In fact, last year, 1.7 million people nationwide and in 64 countries received payments totaling $483 million because of the FTC’s enforcement actions. People got refunds resulting from more than 50 FTC cases. The most money — around $300 million — went back to about 142,000 people because of a settlement with Western Union.

When the FTC sends refunds, it usually uses customer lists and contact information it gets from the defendants. If that information isn’t available, the agency may ask people to file a claim or use its Consumer Sentinel database to find people who are eligible for a refund. The database includes reports people make to the FTC, Better Business Bureaus, and federal, state, and local law enforcement offices. When you report a scam or fraud, you may help law enforcement, and yourself. For example, many people who reported sending money to lottery, romance, sweepstakes or other online scammers through Western Union got full refunds in 2020.

The FTC will never require you to pay fees in advance, or ask for sensitive information, like your bank account information. If someone contacts you and says they’re from the FTC but they want you to send money, it’s a scam. Even if they claim to be FTC Chairman Joe Simons — like some scammers have — if they ask for money, it’s a scam.

Check out the list of recent cases that led to refunds, and who to contact with questions, at FTC.gov/refunds. And explore details of the refund program with the FTC’s interactive dashboards, which let you look at refunds by year or by case. The dashboards can tell you how many people got refunds, where checks were sent, and how much money went to people in a specific state or country.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

I would like to see, in addition to the amount of money you have returned to defrauded consumers, the total amounts lost by consumers in your cases.

I applaud the refunds, great job! However, when consumers see that large amount of restitution, they may be lulled into thinking that if they are ripped off, they can depend on future restitution and be less careful.

So, if you refund 483 million, if this is from 10 billion in fraud losses, That shows that only a small percentage of losses are recovered. Most thieves spend or hide proceeds and do not have the money available to make refunds.

Hi.I was scammed out of 10,000 dollars in 2005,around January,I believe.When I reported it to the FBI,Iwas under the impression it was 4ever lost.I took a 2nd mortgage to pay for the lost funds.Is it possible to get any of that money back?I was deceived by cashing counterfeit money orders that I thought was legit.....John B

Western union did not refund me money that was sent to Legos Nigeria that was a scam.

As I'm just finding out about this I'm wondering since I was scammed out of money via romance scam using Western Union and MoneyGram Is there any way to still participate in this program? I lost money in 2016 and 17.

The deadline to file a claim was May 31, 2018. The Department of Justice (DOJ) plans to provide a way for people to apply for refunds in the future. When there is information about how to apply, DOJ will post it on the Western Union Remission(link is external) site.

The FTC has more information at www.FTC.gov/WU.

I got defrauded by IRS Impersonation Scam back in 2018 big time, and I reported to FTC, IRS, and my retirement account TIAA. I talked to the investigators from each TIAA and IRS. I lost nearly $200K of my retirement money, yet no one has actually helped me so far to retrieve my money and I am getting so desperate.

I filed an extensive document outlining a $30,000 fraud with a dating service and Wells Fargo Bank In 2018. It nearly cost me my home; it might still cost me my home. There has been zero accountability by the FTC, the FBI, the Secret Service, my state officials and others which were all notified. Nothing. Why? It seems agencies like to simply track data and life goes on with nothing being done for the victim. I’m not the only one this has happened to. It’s a horrendous experience and we need some action, please!

This happened to me in 2010 I Bank Wired over $100.000 to China, Twain and New York, NY USA. I also did a report with Police and FTC. I called FBI and Homeland Security my money was traced to London, England then moved to a Bank in Rio de Janeiro. USA, has no Jurisdiction in Brazil so I could not get my money back.
Please, let me know if you hear anything from the FTC Thank you

I got scammed by a romance scam for $10.000 on Instagram, I used moneygram and western. Union. I also pawned my car title. I didn’t know anything about scams, it happened in 2017. I don’t know if there is anything that can be done now since it’s been so long. I saw this and thought I would give it a try. I know what i did was very stupid but I really didn’t think there were people that would do that to a woman on disability. I almost lost my car and everything else because of that con artist.

What happened to my comment?

I would like to speak on behalf of everybody in the United States and everywhere across the world thank you

My laptop was hacked last year and I paid ransom $600 as ebay gift card as requested. I did report that to to ftc consumer protection but have not received any refund from you.

when will the next check come from the western union settlement,still waiting for mine to come

is there any way to get a refund from money gram,i sent money to lagos and other countries,this was during the money scam from 2004-2013

I was taken twice they refused to refund my money I am leary to do business with them

All most of us want is a regular update and an HONEST answer as to when we can expect the next round of payments! We are tired of constant delays!

is there any chance that we can get a refund from money gram,that we sent during the same time as western union.2004-2012.thank you

I did the same in 2012 and 2013. I have not heard anything as of yet. Filled it last June with FTC. Have you heard any feedback on your case?

What is the CORRECT email address for forwarding a scam email to the FTC?

You can report a scam, fraud or bad business practice to the FTC at www.ReportFraud.ftc.gov. When you report, you can copy and paste a message and add it to the report.

I just got a letter in the mail about all this. I was scammed out of $2k when I was 16 trying to buy a car. Part of me feels this is just another scam seeing your asking us for our SSN for our money back. I want to send my form in hoping to get something back but the last thing I need is to be scammed again and lose everything I have

Got a letter for possible refund from MoneyGram scam. Is this legit? Does FCC ask for social security number for this refund?

After a settlement with the FTC, US Department of Justice, and US Postal Inspection Service, MoneyGram agreed to pay a $125 million dollar settlement. That money will go back to people who sent money to scammers through MoneyGram. Read more at FTC.gov/MoneyGram.

The company that is managing the refunds (Gilardi & Co.) is sending prefilled claim forms to people who paid scammers using MoneyGram transfers. The claim forms show a dollar loss amount that's based on MoneyGram records. The claim forms tell you what to do if you agree, or don't agree, with that dollar loss amount. 

You must put your Social Security number on the claim form so the federal Treasury Offset Program can check whether you owe any money to the federal government before it sends a payment.

Has the DOJ been sending letters to victims, with a form to fill out and return, in order to receive reimbursement? I received one, which requested my Social Security #, and now I'm afraid that may be a scam, as well!

If you used MoneyGram to send money to a scammer between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2017, you may get a prefilled claim form in the mail. The claim forms, from claims administrator Gilardi & Co. LLC, are the first step in distributing money from the $125 million settlement with the FTC in 2018.

The FTC published a blog about the MoneyGram refunds on March 5, 2021. The blog explains the claim form requires you to give your Social Security number (SSN). That’s because the federal Treasury Offset Program must find out whether you owe money to the US government before you can get a payment. It needs your SSN to do that.

You can read more at www.FTC.gov/Moneygram, and at the www.MoneyGramRemission.com. 

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