Western Union settlement: $586 million in refunds

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.

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.

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!

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