There have been many people that have been taken in from scammers, but email and telemarketing. A lot of these are of the Advance Fee Fraud type of scam. The victim is promised a lot of money (Nigerian Prince, Soldier overseas, dying person with millions to donate to charity). But for some unknown reason, the victim has to send money for some random fee, customs document, or bank account. And for some reason, the money has to be wired using Western Union.
While US Citizens were losing millions of dollars, it seemed that Western Union just let that happen. They appeared to know that people were getting scammed. They appeared to know that Western Union was the preferred method of receiving money. Clerks at their offices were having people walk up with thousands of dollars to send overseas. And they didn’t really seem to do a whole lot about it. The FTC became very concerned about that.
So, the FTC decided to make Western Union a little more liable for doing little about having their services used to scam US Citizens, and the results are in. There is now a REAL fund to help pay claims for people that have lost money. If you lost money between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017, you have the opportunity to get at least some (probably not all) of your money back.
If you have been scammed, or know someone who has been scammed, and it involved Western Union, have them go to the FTC web site here:
Make sure you go to the FTC (Federal Trade Commission . GOV) web site for official information and links to filing a claim. If you want to share this with a friend, make sure to share only the https://www.ftc.gov/WU link to start the process. Because people will be wanting to file a claim, I’m sure there will be fraudulent web sites popping up to try to scam these people again. Please feel free to share this post or this information, but make sure to only go through the official FTC web site to file a claim.
This is definitely good news, but it’s best to not get scammed in the first place. I’m not blaming the victims. However, if you know someone that’s been scammed or is likely to get scammed, please make sure that they get educated or protected. And if you’re contacted by a scammer, feel free to have a lengthy chat with them about why:
- The IRS is going to file a lawsuit against you,
- Some process server needs to wire money NOW to stop them from serving you,
- Your computer is telling “Windows” that have a virus,
- Someone needs to get a large sum of money out of some country,
- A dying, God-fearing person wants you to distribute their charitable donations,
- basically anything where you have to send them money with an untraceable instrument (Green Dot Card, iTunes gift cards, Western Union, MoneyGram, et. al.)
After all, if they are wasting their time trying to unsuccessfully scam you, they aren’t successfully scamming someone else.
Now I wonder if the FTC is taking a look at Green Dot and MoneyGram next…