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Western Union has agreed to cough up $586 million to settle allegations that it failed to prevent scammers from using its system for money laundering and fraud. And if you are a customer, you might be entitled to some compensation.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, the Colorado-headquartered global money transfer company knowingly allowed fraudsters to use its services to commit “probably billions in fraud-related transfers” from January 2004 to August 2015.
Western Union not only ignored consumer complaints and internal reports where its own agents flagged fraudulent activity, but it also disregarded fraud warnings from U.S. and international law enforcement agencies and failed to take appropriate action against its agents that were complicit in fraud, according to the FTC.
In a global settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice and the FTC, Western Union admits to willfully failing to maintain an effective money-laundering program and to aiding and abetting wire fraud.
FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez says in a statement:
“The agreements we are announcing today will ensure Western Union changes the way it conducts its business and provides more than a half billion dollars for refunds to consumers who were harmed by the company’s unlawful behavior.”
The settlement also requires Western Union to implement a “comprehensive A-to-Z anti-fraud program in place, complete with meaningful training and monitoring to protect consumers in the future,” says the FTC.
If you believe you were a victim of the Western Union fraud scheme, you’re encouraged to visit the Department of Justice’s victim website for information on how you can request redress through the Victim Asset Recovery Program.
The FTC also wants to remind consumers that it’s illegal for a telemarketer to ask for payment via wire transfer. If this happens to you, keep your hard-earned cash and report the fraud to the FTC.
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