Wired $ to a scammer via Western Union? Read this!

Tuesday, February 06, 2018


You've probably heard that if you wire money to a scammer, it's gone forever. Well, here is an exception. If you lost money to a scammer who had you pay using Western Union between Jan. 1, 2004 and Jan. 19, 2017, you can ask for your money back. You must submit a claim by May 31, 2018. (Note: This is a new, extended deadline for claims.)

Earlier this year, Western Union agreed to return $586 million to people to settle Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that Western Union hadn’t adequately protected people from fraud, and didn’t properly discipline problem agents. 

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is handling the refunds (“remissions”). Here’s what you need to know:

  • If you already reported your fraud loss to Western Union, the FTC or another government agency, you might get a claim form in the mail. The forms have been mailed (they'll come from Gilardi & Co, the company hired by the DOJ to handle the claims). You can use the Claim ID and the PIN on the form to file your claim online.
  • If you didn’t already report your loss, or you don't get a claim form in the mail, go online to file your claim. Start at FTC.gov/WU to get to the claims website. 
  • If you’re putting in a new claim, or changing the pre-filled amount on the claim form you got in the mail, you’ll be asked for documentation. Upload—or send copies of—the receipts or "transfer send forms" you have, and give as many details as you can remember about the transfer. If you don’t have documentation, you can still complete the form. The DOJ will use the information you give them to try to validate your Western Union money transfer.
  • Be aware that the claim forms require your Social Security number (SSN). Before the DOJ can send you a check, it's required to check whether you owe money to the U.S. government.

You do not have to pay to get your money back. Don’t pay anyone who says they can file a claim for you. And nobody will ever call you to ask for your bank account or credit card number. It’s free to file your claim form, and you have to do it online OR by mail. Find the claim form and the only address that accepts claims by mail at FTC.gov/WU

It will take the DOJ up to a year to validate all the claims it gets and return lost money. Save copies of your submission forms and documentation and check the website (FTC.gov/WU) for updates.



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