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.™ Victim Support: FTCFTC The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is an independent agency of the United States government whose principal mission is the enforcement of civil (non-criminal) U.S. antitrust law and the promotion of consumer protection. The FTC can also act as a clearinghouse for criminal reports sent to other agencies for investigation and prosecution. To learn more visit www.FTC.gov or to report fraud visit ReportFraud.FTC.gov Starts Sending Money To Western Union Victims After THREE Years Of Wait!
Department of Justice Begins First Distribution of Funds Recovered Through Asset Forfeiture to Compensate Victims of Western Union 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. Scheme
The Department of Justice announced today that the Western Union Remission Fund began its first distribution of approximately $153 million in funds forfeited to the U.S. government from the Western Union Company (Western Union) to over 109,000 victims located in the United States and abroad. These victims, many of whom were elderly victims of consumer fraud and abuse, will be recovering the full amount of their losses.
According to the Federal Trade Commission:
“The $153 million distribution announced today brings some measure of justice for the elderly and other victims who were financially harmed by the fraudulent schemes in this case,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s CriminalCriminal A criminal is any person who through a decision or act engages in a crime. This can be complicated, as many people break laws unknowingly, however, in our context, it is a person who makes a decision to engage in unlawful acts or to place themselves with others who do this. A criminal always has the ability to decide not to break the law, or if they initially engage in crime to stop doing it, but instead continues. Division. “The department remains resolute in its efforts to not only prevent fraud from occurring in the first place, but also to find and return ill-gotten gains.”
“Money Transfer Businesses such as Western Union are particularly susceptible to misuse by scammers,” said U.S. Attorney David J. Freed for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. “In nearly every case of this nature that we have encountered in the Middle District of Pennsylvania, money transfer businesses are used to facilitate the crimes. Working together with MLARS and the skilled and dedicated investigators of the Postal Inspection Service, we have achieved outstanding results – bringing fraudsters to justice and holding businesses such as Western Union accountable. In addition to increased fraud detection and protection, an integral part of that accountability involves Western Union making victims whole. $153 Million is a good start.”
“The losses and the number of victims, in this case, are staggering. This initial disbursement will provide relief to more than 100,000 individuals, who lost $153 million,” said Assistant Postal Inspector in Charge John Walker of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Philadelphia Division. “Some lost their life’s savings as a result of these scammers. Postal Inspectors continue to be out front when it comes to investigating these con men and in protecting American citizens from them. Today, we are happy to play the third role — returning money to those who were scammed. Delivering justice, and in this case, delivering restitutionRestitution Restitution is where a court orders the defendant to give up his gains to the claimant (victim). It should be contrasted with Compensation, the law of loss-based recovery, in which a court orders the defendant to pay the claimant for their loss..”
“Western Union turned a blind eye to the fraudulent payments made through its money transfer system,” said Andrew Smith, Director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “We’re glad to be returning money to those consumers who were ripped off by fraudsters exploiting the Western Union system, and we will not tolerate Western Union or other payments companies facilitating fraud.”
In 2017, Western Union entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with the United States. Pursuant to the DPA, Western Union acknowledged responsibility for its criminal conduct, which included violations of the Bank Secrecy Act and aiding and abetting wire fraud, and agreed to forfeit $586 million, which has been made available to compensate victims of the international consumer fraud scheme through the remission process. Western Union simultaneously resolved a parallel civil investigation with the Federal Trade Commission.
In this case, fraudsters or scammers specifically targeted seniors through primarily three distinct 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.. First, in grandparent scams, the fraudsterFraudster 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. would pose as the victim’s relative, usually a grandchild, in need of immediate money to avoid personal harm such as a payment for medical expenses or ambulatory transportation. Second, in lottery or sweepstakes scamsSweepstakes Scams These scams involve someone claiming you won a prize. However, they say you must pay a fee or provide sensitive banking information in order to get it. They keep the money, and you get nothing for it., victims received phone calls telling them that they had won large cash prizes but had to pay fees such as taxes to claim the prize. Many of these victims were re-victimized several times, as they were told to transfer large sums of money in multiple transactions on the promise that they would receive their prizes. Third, romance scams preyed on seniors searching for love or companionship on the internet. These victims were lulled into believing that their online love interest needed funds for a visit to the United States or some other purpose.
Certain Owners, Operators Or Employees Of Western Union Agent Locations Were Complicit In The Schemes
Western Union aided and abetted the fraud scheme by failing to suspend or terminate complicit agents and by allowing them to continue to process fraud-induced monetary transactions. Western Union had fulfilled its obligations under the DPA and the government has filed a motion to dismiss the information, which the court granted today.
This first round of payments is one of several expected to occur in the Western Union remission. The Department of Justice sent petitions for remission to over 500,000 potential victims of the Western Union fraud and anticipates authorizing compensation for many more victims in the coming months.
About The Federal Trade Commission
The Justice Department, through the Asset Forfeiture Program, works diligently to restore lost funds to victims of crime and acknowledges the significant assistance of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) Philadelphia Division’s Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Office in the Western Union remission. The victim compensation payments in the Western Union case would not have been possible without the extraordinary efforts of the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Money LaunderingMoney laundering Money laundering is the illegal process of concealing the origins of money obtained illegally by passing it through a complex sequence of banking transfers or commercial transactions. Money laundering can be done through various mediums, leveraging a variety of payment vehicles, people and institutions. and Asset Recovery Section; the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, the Central District of California, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and the Southern District of Florida; and the USPIS Philadelphia Division’s Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Office, the 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.’s Los Angeles Field Office, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigations, Homeland Security Investigations, Federal Reserve Board and the Consumer Financial Protection BureauCFPB The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a United States government agency. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is a 21st century agency that helps consumer finance markets work by making rules more effective, by consistently and fairly enforcing those rules, and by empowering consumers to take more control over their economic lives. CFPB LINK Office of Inspector General, and Department of the Treasury Office of Inspector General.
More information about the Western Union remission and its compensation to victims is available on the Western Union remission website at www.westernunionremission.com. Further questions may be directed to the Western Union Remission Administrator by phone at 844-319-2124 or by email at info@WesternUnionRemission.com.
The year 2020 marks the 150th anniversary of the Department of Justice. Learn more about the history of our agency at www.Justice.gov/Celebrating150Years.
TAGS: SCARS, Important Article, Information About Scams, Anti-Scam, Scams, Scammers, Fraudsters, Cybercrime, Crybercriminals, Romance Scams, 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. Victims, Western Union Repayment Program, Western Union Remission Program, Recovering Money, Money Recovery Program, Justice Department, Asset Forfeiture Program, U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Money Laundering and Asset Recovery, U.S. Attorney’s Offices, Compensation To Victims
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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 Police – ask them to take an “informational” police report – say you need it for your insurance
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