Western Union Refund Alert
Consumers may be entitled to a refund if they were tricked into using Western Union to pay for prizes, loans, jobs, products and rewards that never materialized. Step-by-step details are available via the Federal Trade Commission website.
The deadline to file a claim is May 31, 2018. Anyone who sent money to a scammer through Western Union between January 1, 2004, and January 19, 2017, is eligible to submit a claim. All claims are subject to review and verification by the U.S. Department of Justice. Consumers do not need to hire an attorney to submit a claim.
The refunds, which may take up to a year to distribute, are a result of a federal ruling against Western Union. The company admitted in January to “aiding and abetting wire fraud” by allowing scammers to process transactions, even after it realized its agents were helping scammers avoid detection. As the world’s biggest money transfer company, Western Union has over half a million locations in more than 200 countries.
Following a joint investigation, the Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Department of Justice, and U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Western Union agreed to pay $586 million. The government agencies are administering reimbursements from this pool of money.
The scams covered by the financial settlement include:
- Online or internet scams: Customers did not receive the items they tried to buy online.
- Lottery or prize promotion scams: Targets were told they had won a lottery or sweepstakes, but never got the prize.
- Emergency or grandparent scams: Targets sent money to someone pretending to be a relative or friend in urgent need of help.
- Advance-fee loan scams: Customers paid upfront fees, but did not get the promised loans
- Online dating or romance scams: Customers sent money to someone who created a fake profile on a dating or social networking website.