Western Union, which provides money wiring services around the world has just settled fraud charges brought by the Federal Trade Commission, the Justice Department and a number of states’ Attorneys General. Under the terms of the settlement which was achieved through a Deferred Prosecution Agreement, Western Union will pay 586 million dollars to be used to reimburse victims of the various scams operated by Western Union in conjunction with scammers around the world who used the services of Western Union to scam victims out of money and also to illegally launder funds.
Wiring money has long been a favored manner for scammers to request payment in a wide variety of scams because of the difficulty of tracing or retrieving the funds once they have been wired.
Among the scams uncovered by prosecutors were scams in which the scammers posed as family members of their victims desperately in need of money, phony lotteries and phony job opportunities.
Under the Deferred Prosecution Agreement, Western Union admits its guilt, but will not be prosecuted if they comply with a number of required changes in how they do business as well as pay the 586 million dollar forfeiture.
Because wiring of funds is such a favorite method for scammers to seek to be paid, you should always be a bit skeptical when you are asked, as a part of any business dealing to wire funds.
If you were a victim of a scam in which funds were wired through Western Union, you may be eligible for reimbursement through the forfeited funds Western Union is paying to settle this matter. For specific information about making a claim, go the Justice Department’s victim website at http://www.justice.gov/criminal-afmls/remission.