There’s a piece of good news for the victims of an infamous and wide scam who lost money by sending them to scammers via Western Union. The money remittance company has announced that it will pay back people who wired money to other individuals who turned out to be scammers through their money-sending services.
The dubious scheme is known as “grandma scam” would ask money from potential victims saying their loved one like a grandchild is in serious trouble in other places and needs the money badly. Trusting, worried and unsuspecting victims normally fell for the drama and sent money, that of course, in the end, went to scammers and not to their family members or loved ones.
Western Union has agreed to pay $586 million to pay back victims in all 50 states who used their money remittance services to wire money to crooks between 2004 and January 2017. The move is meant to settle charges brought by the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice.
It is estimated that at least half a million people were affected by the scam.
Repeated warnings have not exactly worked as a full deterrence as the money transfer service continued to be used by con artists as a non-traceable way to steal money from victims. The scammers managed to convince people to send money to help loved ones or pay the IRS and other dubious reasons.
Western Union has said that it is fully cooperating with the government for its goal of protecting consumers from fraud. The company also promised to reimburse the victims.
The money transfer service company is also committing to instituting changes like putting anti-fraud warnings on forms that consumers use to send money, providing mandatory training for Western Union agents, and putting in more anti-fraud protections.
The concerned government agencies announced that all claims by victims must be filed by February 12, 2018. A special website has also been put in place to process claims. The site is westernunionremission.com.
It is not clear how much the victims will receive back from Western Union as the company is yet to clarify the matter. It is likely though that victim will only receive a fraction of what they sent and not the entire amount.