File a claim if you paid scammers through Western Union

Posted: Updated:

The Federal Trade Commission is alerting consumers who lost money to scammers who told them to pay via Western Union’s money transfer system between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017 that they can now file a claim to get their money back. 

Consumers are asked to file their claim by going to FTC.gov/WU before February 12, 2018. Filing a claim is free. 

“American consumers lost money while Western Union looked the other way,” said FTC Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen. “We’re pleased to start the process that will get that money back into consumers’ rightful hands.”

The refund program follows a settlement with the Western Union Company, which in January 2017 agreed to pay $586 million to resolve charges brought by the FTC and the Department of Justice.

The FTC alleged that fraudsters were able to use Western Union’s money transfer system to get payments from their victims, even though the company was aware of the problem and received hundreds of thousands of complaints about fraud-induced money transfers made for fraudulent lottery and prizes, family emergencies, advance-fee loans, online dating and other scams.

The company also allegedly failed to promptly discipline problem Western Union agents, and failed to have effective anti-fraud policies and procedures.

The Trade Commission said in a news release that some people who have already reported their losses to Western Union, the FTC, or another government agency will receive a form in the mail from the claims administrator, Gilardi & Co. 

No one associated with the claims process will call to ask for consumers’ bank account or credit card number.

Info graphic describing the process for filing a claim to get a refund in the Western Union matter. Click to download a larger version 

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