Western Union Repayment News
UPDATED NOVEMBER 13 2017 [UPDATED AUGUST 17, 2018]
FILING A CLAIM HAS BEEN EXTENDED – CLICK HERE
The United States Department of Justice Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section serves as the central decision making authority on all petitions for remission filed in judicial matters across the country. At times, the complexity of the matter or volume of victims necessitates the hiring of an outside claims administrator to assist with the processing of petitions. Listed below are matters where a court-appointed trustee, special master, or claims administrator has been hired to manage the petition for remission process. If you believe you are a victim of one of the matters listed below, please visit the listed website for additional information and frequently asked questions on the matter.
On January 19, 2017, The Western Union Company (Western Union), a global money services business headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, agreed to forfeit $586 million and entered into agreements with the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission. In its agreement with the Justice Department, Western Union admitted that it violated U.S. laws—The Bank Secrecy Act and anti-fraud statutes—by processing hundreds of thousands of transactions for Western Union agents and others involved in an international consumer fraud scheme. As part of the scheme, fraudsters contacted victims in the U.S. and falsely posed as family members in need or promised prizes or job opportunities. The fraudsters directed the victims to send money through Western Union to help their relative or claim their prize. The Department of Justice hired Gilardi & Co., LLC to serve as the remission administrator in this matter.
If you believe you were a victim of the fraud described above and you made a wire transfer through Western Union between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017, you may be eligible for remission.
In order to be considered for a remission payment, you will be required to submit a Remission Form along with any available supporting documentation. The process for filing a petition has not started. When the petition process begins, information about filing a petition online or in the mail will be posted here. You can contact the Remission Administrator at 1-844-319-2124, email info@WesternUnionRemission.com, or sign up to receive updates via email here.
How The Process Works
Western Union Case FAQs
What is this case about?
Western Union has agreed to forfeit $586 million to the government, settled consumer fraud charges by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and has entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ), in which it admits to criminally aiding and abetting wire fraud and violations of the Bank Secrecy Act. As part of the scheme, fraudsters contacted victims in the U.S. and falsely posed as family members in need or promised prizes or job opportunities. The fraudsters directed the victims to send money through Western Union to help their relative or claim their prize. Various Western Union agents were complicit in these fraud schemes, often processing the fraud payments for the fraudsters in return for a cut of the fraud proceeds.
The scams, which generally targeted the elderly and other vulnerable persons, were committed by falsely promising victims they would receive large cash prizes, falsely offering various high-ticket items for sale over the Internet at deeply discounted prices, falsely promising employment opportunities as “secret shoppers,” and placing distressed phone calls falsely posing as the victim’s relative and claiming to be in trouble and in urgent need of money. In each case, the perpetrators required the victims to send them advance money through Western Union’s money transfer system in order to receive a promised product or service. The victims never received what they were promised.
In the coming months, the DOJ will file four separate civil forfeiture complaints in various districts. The $586 million will not be property of the government until these cases conclude. The remission process will begin after completion of the forfeitures.
What is Remission?
The funds that will be forfeited from Western Union will be returned to victims through a process called “remission.” The remission process for assets forfeited by the DOJ is governed by 28 Code of Federal Regulations Part 9, specifically 9.8. After a victim files a petition for remission detailing the loss amount, a determination will be made by the DOJ’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section as to whether the petition will be granted. Upon conclusion of the petition review process, all petitioners with approved losses will receive payment for some or all of their loss.
Has the Western Union remission process started?
Not yet. The process will start later in 2017. Please check back here for more information, or sign up for email updates here.
What is the deadline to file a Petition for Remission?
The remission process has not yet started. Check this website for updates and information, including the filing deadline.
How do I file a Petition for Remission?
The process for filing a petition has not started. When the petition process begins, information about filing a petition online or in the mail will be posted here. Please keep checking or sign up for email updates here.
Who is eligible to file a Petition for Remission?
You may be eligible for a remission payment if you sent a money transfer through Western Union between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017, and were the victim of fraud.
When will I receive a payment?
After the Department of Justice’s remission process starts later in 2017, it will still take some time—potentially a year or more—to process and verify petitions, and determine who is eligible to receive a payment. Check back here for updates on the status of the process and updated information.
What will I need to do to get a payment?
All victims must file a petition for remission in order to be considered for a payment. When the remission process begins, many victims will receive petitions with pre-populated loss amounts that can be returned online or in the mail to the claims administrator. If you don’t receive a pre-filled petition, a blank form will be made available.
If you already reported your loss to Western Union, the company should have your information in its database. If you’re worried it’s not there, you can contact Western Union to be sure:
1-800-448-1492 or online. If you have paperwork related to your money transfers, keep it in case you need to submit it during the remission process.
Am I eligible for remission if I did not report the fraud to Western Union?
Yes, provided you file a petition and meet the other eligibility requirements.
What kind of scams are covered by these refunds?
A wide variety of scams may be covered by this settlement, including:
- Online or Internet scams – you did not receive the items you tried to buy online
- Lottery or prize promotion scams – you were told you won a lottery or sweepstakes, but never got the prize
- Emergency or grandparent scams – you sent money to someone pretending to be a relative or friend in urgent need of money
- Advance-fee loan scams –you paid upfront fees, but did not get the promised loans;
- Online dating or romance scams – you sent money to someone who created a fake profile on a dating or social networking website.
If you sent a money transfer through Western Union and you believe you were the victim of one of these scams, you may be eligible for a return of at least some of your money.
I lost money to one of those scams. Will I definitely get my money back?
Each person’s petition will have to be verified as a real loss to a scam via a Western Union money transfer. Based on that information, the DOJ will work to determine who is eligible and to divide the money among the people with verified losses. The amount you get will depend on how much you lost, the number of people who file petitions, and the total approved losses.
What will eligible petitioners receive?
The amount you receive will likely be a pro rata share of your loss amount offset by any non-remission recovery.
Only the amount of the transfer will be included in approved remission amounts. Collateral expenses such as Western Union fees, incidental losses, or transfers sent through other businesses are not recoverable through the remission process.
I already reported my loss to Western Union, the FTC, or my state. Is that all I need to do?
Right now, there’s nothing you need to do. If you have paperwork related to your money transfers, keep it in case you need it for the claims process.
I sent money a few times to a scam. Can I file a petition for all of those transfers?
Yes. If you sent multiple money transfers related to a scam, you can file claims for all of those money transfers that occurred within the eligibility period of January 1, 2004 through January 19, 2017.
I don’t have my paperwork anymore. Can I still file a petition?
Yes. If you were the victim of fraud and sent your money through Western Union, you should still file a claim, even if you don’t have paperwork related to your money transfer. Your claim will have to be verified, but you may still be eligible for a payment.
My parents lost money in a money transfer scam. Can I file a petition for them?
The victim must file his/her own petition. However, if you represent an estate or have power of attorney for your parent(s), you can provide those documents along with the petition. When the petition process opens, there will be more details on how to file on behalf of someone else.
How much money will I get back?
If you are eligible, the payment amount will depend on the amount of money you sent through Western Union. Your payment will likely not be the full amount of your loss but will depend on how much you lost, the number of people who file petitions, and the total approved losses.
Do I need to pay anything to file a petition or receive a remission payment?
Absolutely not. Neither the Department of Justice nor the FTC will ever ask you to pay to file a petition or to get a payment. Never pay anyone who promises you a refund in exchange for a fee. If someone asks you to pay to get your refund from Western Union, tell the FTC immediately and also report them on www.Anyscam.com.
Where can I get more information?
For the latest information about the remission process:
- Bookmark this page (http://www.westernunionremission.com) and check back regularly
- Sign up here to get email updates about the Western Union refund program.
- Call the administrator at 1-844-319-2124.
- Email the Administrator at: info@WesternUnionRemission.com
If you would like to be notified via email of updates to the remission process, please click here.
More About Western Union …
Commentary By Romance Scams Now Staff
Most people have no idea how the world really works. And Western Union is a perfect example of that.
Western Union is a transfer service and an international banking network with local banks in the majority of countries of the world to enable their service. However, the agencies are NOT owned by Western Union. They are owned and are local companies under the agreement with Western Union. Some are believed to be either owned by scammers groups or have embedded scammer mules working in them.
Should Western Union do more to clean up their act? Yes. But they are also far more important to the world than that, and scams are a small part of their overall value in the global economy.
Yes, Western Union was found responsible in violating their own rules, that was how the U.S. Government forced them to accept the settlement. But they could probably have fought it too.
There really is no easy way to spotlight the fact that people are sending money to strangers. It happens and organizations like ours helps to clean up the mess spending vast sums of our own money in the process.
However, we are here to educate, advocate, and support.
But lessons have to be learned or the mistakes of the past are repeated. Unfortunately, the average victim is scammed more than 2 times. So these lessons are not always learned the first time.
THAT IS SAD.
No one will save you. It happened, it is over, and the money is gone in almost all cases. The scammers got away with it.
That is not easy to hear, but true.
At this stage you have two main obligations for your actions:
- Report the scam, so that when the information can be used it is available. Report it to www.Anyscam.com so it is distributed around the world. AND to your LOCAL police so that your country is aware of how large the problem is. Less than 3% of victims report scams, so local governments have no idea how large this is, and simply do not think it is a priority.
- Move on and RECOVER. Scams are very traumatic. Fixating on your rage at the scammer solves NOTHING. Report them and move on. Join a victims support group – either locally (you can find lawful victims assistance through your local police is you ask) OR online through one of our scam victim’s support groups accredited by SCARS. If you are serious about helping yourself this is the path. Contact us by message to learn about and obtain an invitation to our support groups.
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WESTERN UNION REPAYMENT PROGRAM NEWS
FOR THE LATEST INFORMATION ABOUT THE WESTERN UNION REPAYMENT / REMISSION PROGRAM CLICK HERE – IT IS STILL OPEN FOR A PETITIONS FOR REPAYMENT
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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 Police – ask them to take an “informational” police report – say you need it for your insurance
- Your National Police or FBI (www.IC3.gov)
- The Scars Worldwide Reporting Network HERE or on www.Anyscam.com
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