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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 exploiti