Western Union users may get scammer refund
ANYONE who has lost money to a scammer through Western Union during 2004 and 2017 have until February 12 to lodge a claim.
The ACCC's Scamwatch advises Western Union has agreed to pay a penalty of US$586 million to the United States' Department of Justice after admitting to aiding and abetting wire fraud. The DOJ is using this penalty to provide refunds to eligible people worldwide who were tricked into paying scammers via Western Union.
Australians will need to use the Western Union remission claim form or apply by post to have their scammed money refunded by the DOJ.
As this is a US-based action, the ACCC won't be able to make claims on behalf of an Australian consumer or assist consumers with their claims
"Scamwatch hears heartbreaking stories on a daily basis from Australians who have lost money to scammers by wiring funds through Western Union," ACCC acting chair Michael Schaper said. "Over $5 million is reported lost each year to these scams but this is just the tip of the iceberg as many victims don't contact us.
"The sad reality is that in most cases, once you have fallen victim to a scammer, the money is gone, and there's nothing you can do to get it back."
Scamwatch says scammers commonly promise prizes, loans, jobs, discounted products and other financial rewards in exchange for sending money upfront through untraceable wire transfers. They also pretend to be family members in urgent need of cash, or law enforcement officers demanding payment for fines, or countless other excuses, but no one ever receives the cash, prizes or services they were promised by scammers.
For further information, visit the US Department of Justice website www.WesternUnionRemission.com for updates and a detailed list of frequently asked questions.
All wire transfers made through Western Union within and outside of the United States between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017 may be eligible for remission. Australian consumers can submit a claim to the US DOJ either online or by post until February 12, 2018.
To apply by post, download the claims form and post to United States vs the Western Union Company, PO Box 404028, Louisville, KY 40233-4028.