New low as money crime victims are tricked again - but this time for their refunds |

New low as money crime victims are tricked again – but this time for their refunds  

Helen Champion 28 March 2018 NEWS

Crafty scammers focus on Western Union money transfer refund settlements to line their pockets.

If scamming people out of hard-earned money wasn’t bad enough the first time, scammers have just hit a new low. Opportunistic crooks are desperate to get their hands on millions tied up in Western Union settlements.

The Federal Trade Commission is refunding $586 million worth of claims from anyone who got scammed sending money through Western Union over the past 13 years.

However, victims are being sent falsified, official-looking letters regarding the refunds requesting information about their Western Union transactions along with contact details.Those behind the letters and emails are hoping to cash in and snatch these refunds away from their rightful owners.

Since money transfer options have been around, there are the scammers lurking in the background promising glamorous prizes, jobs or holidays on receipt of an upfront payment, most often via Western Union.

Sometimes, they opt for the sob story, pretending to be a family member in a crisis pleading for much needed cash. The only problem is, there is no needy family member. And these prizes, jobs or holidays never materialize.

And what of the money? It just vanishes into thin air – straight into the pockets of the criminals where it is almost impossible for police to trace.

Because of this devastating black hole, a large-scale investigation between the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the US Postal Inspection Service, resulted in money transfer company Western Union being found guilty of aiding and abetting wire fraud.

Unbelievably, FTC found that victims are being targeted a second-time round via these bogus letters and emails. But it’s not possible to apply for a refund by email.

The only genuine way to obtain a refund is via the application process on the FTC website. Anything else, is a scam. So just don’t respond. Anyone wishing to submit a claim has until May 31, 2018.

If you want to get the lowdown on Western Union, take a look at our online guide and compare services with other international money transfer providers.

Latest news headlines

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked provides guides and information on a range of products and services. Because our content is not financial advice, we suggest talking with a professional before you make any decision.

By submitting your comment or question, you agree to our Privacy and Cookies Policy and Terms of Use.

Questions and responses on are not provided, paid for or otherwise endorsed by any bank or brand. These banks and brands are not responsible for ensuring that comments are answered or accurate.
Go to site