As I first reported to you in January of 2017, Western Union, which provides money wiring services around the world settled fraud charges brought by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), 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 is paying 586 million dollars to reimburse victims of the various scams facilitated by Western Union in conjunction with scammers around the world who used the services of Western Union to illegally launder funds.  A Deferred Prosecution Agreement allows Western Union to avoid a criminal conviction if it complies with all of the settlement terms.

Wiring money has long been a favored method 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 that Western Union was involved that were 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.  As I explained to you in 2017, anyone who  lost money due to scams that involved payments by Western Union between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017 had until May 31, 2018 to  file a claim to be reimbursed through funds derived from Western Union through the settlement.  However, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has indicated that it will reopen the refund process in the future.  In March of 2020 the first round of checks totaling 153 million dollars were sent to victims of the scams whose claim forms had been approved.  Now the second round of refund checks is being sent totaling approximately 147 million dollars.

TIPS

If you were a victim of a scam in which funds were wired through Western Union between January 1, 2014 and January 19, 2017, you were eligible for reimbursement through the forfeited funds Western Union is paying to settle this matter.   All claims are verified by Gilardi & Co. before a check is sent.  There is no charge for filing a claim or receiving a check.   For specific information about the settlement go to the “FTC Scam Refund” tab in the middle of the first page of Scamicide.com and click through and then scroll down to the Western Union information.

For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.”  Scamicide was recently cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.
If you are not a subscriber to Scamicide.com and would like to receive daily emails with the Scam of the day, all you need to do is to go to the bottom of the initial page of http://www.scamicide.com and click on the tab that states “Sign up for this blog.”