If You Paid a Scammer Via Western Union, You Can Now File a Claim to Get Money Back

Fraudsters were able to use Western Union's money transfer system to get payments from their victims

If You Paid a Scammer Via Western Union, You Can Now File a Claim to Get Money Back
May 23, 2018

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 can now file a claim to get their money back by going to FTC.gov/WU. Consumers have until May 31, 2018 to submit a claim.

Western Union was aware of the problem, Looked the Other Way

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 Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U. S. Department of Justice.

The FTC had 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 in place, according to the FTC.

"American consumers lost money while Western Union looked the other way," said FTC Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen. "We're pleased [that this process] will get that money back into consumers' rightful hands."

How to File a Claim

Affected consumers should go to FTC.gov/WU to file claims, learn more, or get updates on the claims process. All claims must be submitted by May 31, 2018.

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. The form will have a Claim ID and a PIN to use when filing a claim online via FTC.gov/WU.

Beware of scammers

Filing a claim is free, so consumers should not pay anyone to file a claim on their behalf. No one associated with the claims process will call to ask for consumers' bank account or credit card numbers.

If anyone requests such information, it could be a scam attempt. File a complaint with the FTC immediately.