A common theme in many scams, including phony lottery scams and the infamous grandparent scam, is that the scammers will require the victim to wire money or use gift cards rather than use a credit card or a check. Once money has been wired or gift card information provided, it is all but impossible to trace or stop payment. In response to this problem, the Federal Trade Commission investigated both Western Union and MoneyGram and settled claims brought against them in 2017 and 2009 respectively. According to the terms of both settlements, the companies agreed to make substantial changes in how they did business in order to reduce the amount of scammers using their services. While Western Union is apparently adhering to the terms of its settlement, the FTC determined that MoneyGram was not implementing the fraud prevention standards agreed upon and consequently, the FTC brought new charges against MoneyGram which were settled in 2018. Among the terms of the new settlement was a payment by MoneyGram of funds to the FTC to be returned to people who were victimized by scammers through MoneyGram between 2013 and 2017. Now four years later, the FTC is refunding 115.8 million dollars to the almost 40,000 victims of MoneyGram scams.
First, in regard to avoiding scams like this in the first place, whenever anyone you are dealing with requests that payment be made by way of a wire transfer or gift card, you should immediately be skeptical because of the near impossibility of getting your money back if the deal is a scam or anything goes wrong. Using a credit card for payment is much safer.
As for victims of scams where MoneyGram was used for payment between 2013 and 2017, the refund checks are finally being sent to people who submitted claims during the open claims process period that I informed you of in 2021. For more information about the program, you can call the MoneyGram Remission Administrator at 844-269-2630.
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