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RSN™ Guide: What Really Is Western Union?
The Western Union Company Is An American Financial Service And Communications Company
Few know that it is also the World’s Largest BANK, with branches in nearly 150 countries.
Its North American headquarters is in Meridian, Colorado, although the postal designation of nearby Englewood is used in its mailing address. Up until it discontinued the service in 2006, Western Union was the best-known U.S. company in the business of exchanging telegrams.
Western Union has several divisions, with products such as person-to-person money transfer, money orders, business payments and commercial services. They offered standard “Cablegrams”, as well as more cheerful products such as Candygrams, Dollygrams, and Melodygrams.
Western Union, as an industrialized monopoly, dominated the telegraph industry in the late 19th century. It was the first communications empire and set a pattern for American-style communications businesses as they are known today.
Scam Industry And Money Laundering
Western Union advises its customers not to send money to someone that they have never met in person. Despite its efforts in increasing customers’ awareness of the issue, Western Union is used for internet fraud by scammers.
Unfortunately, the victims lie to Western Union by claiming they know the scammers. This is where the complete breakdown occurs.
Western Union has been required to maintain records of payout locations of the individuals who may be laundering the money, though this information may be obtained only through the use of a subpoena. Hence advance-fee fraud and romance scammers continue to receive funds via Western Union confident in the knowledge that money lost to overseas scammers is almost always unrecoverable. For this reason, it is banned as a medium of payment through eBay and discouraged on other online auction websites.
Western Union admitted to allowing wire fraud in January 2017 and agreed to pay $586m, for turning a blind eye as criminals used its service for advance fee fraud.
Scammers engaging in various 419 advance fee and other scams including offering fake job offers and lottery prizes, were able to process transactions using Western Union money transfer, mainly by giving the agents a share of the earnings from their scams. Western Union failed to investigate hundreds of thousands of complaints victims filed.
In some countries, the local WU Agents (franchises) are owned by the scammers. This means scammers can still use fake names since it is up to the Agent to confirm the identity of the recipient.
Money Laundering And Terrorist Financing
The Central Bank of Ireland reprimanded and fined Western Union €1.75m in May 2015 because of failures in anti-money laundering practices which could have left the firm’s payment services open to being used for money laundering and/or terrorist financing saying that they were concerned that Western Union “failed to have in place sufficiently robust systems and procedures to train agents, to monitor and identify suspicious activity in respect of smaller transactions, and to maintain appropriate records” and “the splitting of payments into many separate smaller payments is a common method used to launder money. Similarly, terrorist financing is often carried out by small payment transfers.”
Western Union agents also allowed Chinese immigrants to use the service to send hundreds of millions of dollars, by sending the amounts in smaller increments to avoid transfer reporting requirements, to pay human smugglers.
Western Union has begun blocking transactions based on suspicion of terrorist connections, as a part of the company’s involvement with the War on Terror. Currently, transfers sent from the Western Union website require telephone confirmation of the sender’s identity. On occasion, the transfer will fail and customer service informs the sender that the transaction “does not meet our requirements”. If details are requested, no information will be given other than the fact that their disclosure is forbidden. Numerous customers have reported this problem.
Of Course, This Has Not Stopped Wu Use By Scammers
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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
This helps your government understand the problem, and allows law enforcement to add scammers on watch lists worldwide.
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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