GREENSBORO, N.C. — Scammers are hard to find and bring to justice. Even if authorities do catch up with them, the scammers don't usually have the money to pay their victims back.
If you can’t stop them, why not go after the businesses that scammers use to help them pull off their scams?
That's what is happening right now with the Western Union.
For years, scammers would instruct victims to wire money through Western Union. The scammers would pose as love interests or family members in need of cash. Other times, the scammers would be promising prizes, loans, or jobs in exchange for money (fees or taxes) paid upfront.
After a joint investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice, and the U.S. Postal Service, Western Union is paying up.
The company admitted it didn't do enough to prevent criminals from using its services and has beefed up anti-fraud training for employees to help ward off fraudulent wires.
The agreement includes $586 million in refunds to consumers who were deceived. That could be you or someone you know.
Here are the details:
If you lost money to a scammer and you paid them using Western Union from January 2004 through January 19, 2017, you could get your money back.
You have to make a claim by July 1, 2022, which means you have two weeks.
The FTC has an entire page about how the refunds work, how to get a receipt for your transaction years ago, and more.
The claims administrator is mailing more than 300,000 pre-filled claim forms to people who may be eligible for a payment. These prefilled forms show eligible loss amounts, based on reports people previously filed with Western Union.