Millions in refunds await those who used Western Union to pay scammers


People tricked into transferring money to fraudsters via Western Union have until the end of August to request a full refund under a $586 million settlement achieved by business and government.

The Justice Department has already distributed more than $366 million to more than 148,000 victims, many of them elderly, and refunds are still available as the deadline to file a claim was recently extended, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

People tricked into transferring money via Western Union between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017 can get information on filing a claim heresaid the FTC.

Both federal agencies pointed out that any request for payment in the process is fraudulent and should be directed to [email protected]

Western Union refund social media graphic.

Federal Trade Commission

Western Union let criminals use its global money transfer service to carry out “hundreds of thousands” of scams, the company admitted in the 2017 settlement.

The FTC at the time claimed that Western Union had known for “years” that scammers were using its services, but ignored more than 550,000 customer complaints from January 2004 to August 2015. The scammers racked up billions in fraudulent transactions during that period, the agency said.

In one scam, the criminals called a Western Union customer and asked him to wire money to claim a prize or to help a relative. Once the money was sent, it could not be recovered. Some Western Union agents accepted the scam for a cut in profits.

“We recognize that in some instances, primarily from 2004 to 2012, the company did not exercise as much oversight as it should have,” a company spokesperson said in 2017.

The FTC last month filed a lawsuit against Walmart accusing him of similar behavior. Walmart, however, denied the allegations and vowed to challenge the agency’s lawsuit in court.

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