SCARSSCARS SCARS - Society of Citizens Against Relationship Scams Inc. A government registered crime victims' assistance & crime prevention nonprofit organization based in Miami, Florida, U.S.A. SCARS supports the victims of scams worldwide and through its partners in more than 60 countries around the world. Incorporated in 2015, its team has 30 years of continuous experience educating and supporting scam victims. Visit www.AgainstScams.org to learn more about SCARS. Open Letter: To Western Union
An Open Letter To Western Union
Dear Western Union
In a world filled with fraudFraud In law, fraud is intentional deception to secure unfair or unlawful gain (money or other assets), or to deprive a victim of a legal right. Fraud can violate civil law (e.g., a fraud victim may sue the fraud perpetrator to avoid the fraud or recover monetary compensation) or criminal law (e.g., a fraud perpetrator may be prosecuted and imprisoned by governmental authorities), or it may cause no loss of money, property, or legal right but still be an element of another civil or criminal wrong. The purpose of fraud may be monetary gain or other benefits, for example by obtaining a passport, travel document, or driver's license, or mortgage fraud, where the perpetrator may attempt to qualify for a mortgage by way of false statements. A fraud can also be a hoax, which is a distinct concept that involves deliberate deception without the intention of gain or of materially damaging or depriving a victim. and identity theftIdentity Theft Identity theft is when someone uses another person's personal identifying information, without their permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. In both the U.K. and the United States it is the theft of personally identifiable information. Identity theft deliberately uses someone else's identity as a method to gain financial advantages or obtain credit and other benefits, and perhaps to cause other person's loss. The person whose identity has been stolen may suffer adverse consequences, especially if they are falsely held responsible for the perpetrator's actions. Personally identifiable information generally includes a person's name, date of birth, social security number, driver's license number, bank account or credit card numbers, PINs, electronic signatures, fingerprints, passwords, or any other information that can be used to access a person's financial resources., you have to ask yourself what role you play in perpetuating and facilitating these crimes?
We understand that you are the World’s Money Sender – the largest by far, and you fill a vital role in helping private individuals in sending urgent money to friends and family. Frankly, we are very happy you are here! However, you are also the main conduit for the fraudsters in Ghana, Nigeria, and elsewhere, to extort or defraud their victims of their life savings, however small the payments may be.
We applaud you for your settlement and repayment program. Helping victims recover was a noble cause regardless of you reasons.
In addition, your improved disclaimer and certification questions, and advice against online scamsScams A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime - is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. and other fraud has been a major improvement. But the problem remains.
There has to be a way to help control this, that does not get in the way of legitimate transactions to real people, but maintains a log or database of known scammers!
We suggest the following:
1) Provide a website page to report scams. This should ONLY be usable for Western Union Senders with a valid MTCN number – this means you will have a verified identity of a potential victim to start with. You record and show publicly all complaints against recipients OUTSIDE the United States and Canada, or Western Europe – privacy laws and liability would probably prevent displaying US, CDN, and EURO residents anyway. Besides, the scammers are 99% outside these regions.
2) Anytime someone attempts to send money to a recorded or registered agency where scammerScammer A Scammer or Fraudster is someone that engages in deception to obtain money or achieve another objective. They are criminals that attempt to deceive a victim into sending more or performing some other activity that benefits the scammer. frequent (as in having been previously reported), display a warning to the sending Agent and have them notify the customer that there is a report on file for that receiving agent. Require that they do the transaction with your operators on the phone that can help verbally counsel the sender about the risk they are facing. You could even refer them to either law enforcement or support groupsSupport Groups In a support group, members provide each other with various types of help, usually nonprofessional and nonmaterial, for a particular shared, usually burdensome, characteristic, such as romance scams. Members with the same issues can come together for sharing coping strategies, to feel more empowered and for a sense of community. The help may take the form of providing and evaluating relevant information, relating personal experiences, listening to and accepting others' experiences, providing sympathetic understanding and establishing social networks. A support group may also work to inform the public or engage in advocacy. They can be supervised or not. SCARS support groups are moderated by the SCARS Team and or volunteers. in their region that help romance scamScam A Scam is a confidence trick - a crime - is an attempt to defraud a person or group after first gaining their trust through deception. Scams or confidence tricks exploit victims using their credulity, naïveté, compassion, vanity, irresponsibility, or greed and exploiting that. Researchers have defined confidence tricks as "a distinctive species of fraudulent conduct ... intending to further voluntary exchanges that are not mutually beneficial", as they "benefit con operators ('con men' - criminals) at the expense of their victims (the 'marks')". A scam is a crime even if no money was lost. or other money fraud victims.
3) Alter your terms and conditions with your overseas agencies and national companies to force reporting allegations of fraud to local authorities. Right now, NO ONE is reporting these to the governments involved. Your authority, under the threat of the loss of their agency standing, will force your partners to do this, and to provide you with proof of their actions in order to keep their agency status. This goes a long way to enhance Western Union’s name as a defender of its sending customers. Also require that in countries in West Africa such as Ghana, Nigerian, and other Very High Fraud localities, require your agencies to take digital photos of the receivers – these you can easily maintain for the benefit of U.S., Canadian, and European Law Enforcement, and connect them to your scammer database. Frankly, why are you not taking photos of all receivers already?
4) Offer a “For Fee” insurance service to senders against fraud. I think anyone foolish enough to send money to Ghana or Nigeria, probably doesn’t mind paying 10% additional for fraud protection.
5) Ban receivers with reports of fraud – do you really need their business, and that of their victims into those countries?
6) Make it easier to report fraudulent transaction by family members or friends of victims.
Even if you do only 1, 2, and 3 above, you can dramatically change the landscape and reduce significantly the amount of fraud coming out of Western Africa. You, Western Union, can become that beacon of light that you were over 100 years ago when you enabled communications around the U.S. and the World!
We have the highest respect for your corporation, and know what an outstanding corporate citizen you have been. We simply ask that you recognize the harm that is coming through abuse of your system, and that you will more actively help to reduce it.
We hope that all who read this, will forward a copy to Western Union as well and add your voices to the call for reason in a world full of insane fraud.
Society of Citizens Against Romance Scams [SCARS]
A nonprofit nongovernmental organization
Miami Florida U.S.A.
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Miami Florida U.S.A.
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FAQ: How Do You Properly Report Scammers?
It is essential that law enforcement knows about scams & scammers, even though there is nothing (in most cases) that they can do.
Always report scams involving money lost or where you received money to:
- Local PoliceLocal Police The Local Police is your first responder in most countries. In most English-speaking countries and in Europe report to them first. In other countries look for your national cybercrime police units to report scams to. In the U.S., Canada, & Australia, you must report to the local police first. – ask them to take an “informational” police report – say you need it for your insurance
- Your National Police or FBIFBI FBI - Federal Bureau of Investigation The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the domestic intelligence and security service of the United States and its principal federal law enforcement agency. Operating under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Justice, the FBI is also a member of the U.S. Intelligence Community and reports to both the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence. A leading U.S. counter-terrorism, counterintelligence, and criminal investigative organization, the FBI has jurisdiction over violations of more than 200 categories of federal crimes, including financial fraud. (www.IC3.gov)
- The Scars Worldwide Reporting Network HERE or on www.Anyscam.com
This helps your government understand the problem, and allows law enforcement to add scammers on watch lists worldwide.
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To learn more about SCARS visit www.AgainstScams.org
Please be sure to report all scammers HERE or on www.Anyscam.com
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