Western Union fraud victims now able to file claims for restitution
Midtown buildings are reflected in the window of a Western Union store, Wednesday, April 5, 2016 in New York. The financial services company is known for person-to-person money transfers and money orders.
Mark Lennihan/Associated Press
Delaware residents, who were previously tricked into sending payments to scammers using Western Union services, have been provided a well-funded remedy.
The Delaware Department of Justice Consumer Protection Unit announced the restitution plan Monday afternoon, which resulted out of a settlement the wire service reached with attorneys general of 48 states and the District of Columbia, effective January 19, 2017.
Under the settlement, Western Union agreed to develop and execute an anti-fraud program designed to detect and, consequently, prevent incidents where consumers unwittingly wire money to third party scam artists.
Based on court documents, criminal scams to have used Western Union to defraud unsuspecting consumers included lottery and contest scams, grandparent scams, and falsely offering high-ticket items for sale over the internet at deeply discounted prices.
From as early as 2004, and continuing through 2012, it was determined that between 650,000 and 750,000 consumers had been victims of these schemes nationwide, including those in Delaware.
"Consumers who receive solicitations from strangers promising big winnings should toss those letters in the trash, delete the e-mail or hang up the phone,” Attorney General Denn advised in a statement, when the settlement was announced. “And consumers who meet someone online should be cautious about wiring money, particularly if meeting in person has never taken place. Unfortunately, some victims send money multiple times to the scam artist before realizing they have been duped."
The anti-fraud program that Western Union committed to implement, as a condition of the settlement, included:
- Supplying anti-fraud warnings on send forms which consumers use to wire money
- Required training and education systems for Western Union's agents, on the topic of fraud-induced wire transfers
- Amplified anti-fraud procedures when increased fraud complaints occur
- Due diligence checks on Western Union agents who process agents
- Monitoring of Western Union agent activity related to fraud prevention through money transfers
- Disciplinary measures against Western Union agents who fail to follow required protocols concerning anti-fraud measures
The settlement also required Western Union to furnish $586 million to a fund that the United States Department of Justice would administer to provide refunds to consumers who filed a claim. Additionally, Western Union would also pay a total of $5 million to be split among the states for states' costs and fees associated with investigations that led to the settlements. For its share, Delaware would receive $43,630 for its Consumer Protection Fund.
Anyone who has been targeted in one of these wire transfer scams, and had not already filed with Western Union or the Delaware Department of Justice, was encouraged to file their claim at http://www.westernunionremission.com/
Article From:- https://www.wdel.com