If you ever wired money at Western Union for something that turned to out to be a scam, your chance at a refund expires Feb. 12.
Western Union has agreed to provide $586 million to settle charges it failed to protect consumers adequately and discipline problem agents, federal officials reminded consumers Tuesday
We’re talking scams that go back up to 14 years, generating more than 550,000 complaints about money transfers related to fees to collect fake lottery prizes, phony family emergencies, fraudulent online romance and more. Western Union knew from reports inside and outside the company that such frauds were occurring, and the reports in some cases implicated its own agents, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
Western Union said in a statement last year, “We share the government’s goal of protecting consumers and the integrity of our global money transfer network, and we worked hard to resolve these matters with the government.” The company added: “We are committed to enhancing our compliance programs to prevent illicit activity on our network and protect customers who transfer money to friends, family and businesses.”
Consumers have until Feb. 12 to file claims for refunds for fraudulent payments made via Western Union between Jan. 1, 2004 and Jan. 17, 2017.
The FTC felt obligated to add this warning: Don’t pay anything to file a claim for your refund. That’s a sure sign you are not dealing with the right people. In other words, don’t get scammed in your attempt to get a scam refund.
“The U.S. Department of Justice is managing the claims process through the company they hired, Gilardi & Co.,” a Federal Trade Commission statement said Tuesday. “Your claim will go to Gilardi, but we suggest you start at FTC.gov/WU, which will link you to the claims website.”