Alert: File scam claims with Western Union for share of $586 million settlement

Attorney General Hector Balderas is alerting New Mexicans who lost money to scammers using Western Union’s money transfer system between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017, that they can now file a claim to get their money back by going to www.FTC.gov/WU before May 31, 2018.

“New Mexican families got ripped off while Western Union made huge profits,” said Attorney General Hector Balderas. “Whether a company scams the hard earned money of New Mexico consumers directly, or allows scammers to get paid by turning a blind eye to their illegal activities, my office will do everything in its power to get that money back in the pockets of New Mexicans. I want to make sure New Mexicans receive all of the money they are owed, so I am urging them to file claims before May 31, 2018.”

The refund program follows a settlement with the Western Union Company, which in January 2017 agreed to pay $586 million to resolve charges brought by the FTC and the U. S. Department of Justice. The FTC alleged that fraudsters were able to use Western Union’s money transfer system to get payments from their victims, even though the company was aware of the problem and received hundreds of thousands of complaints about fraud-induced money transfers made for fraudulent lottery and prizes, family emergencies, advance-fee loans, online dating, and other scams. The company also allegedly failed to promptly discipline problem Western Union agents, and failed to have effective anti-fraud policies and procedures.

Affected consumers should go to FTC.gov/WU to file claims, learn more, or get updates on the claims process.

Some people who have already reported their losses to Western Union, the FTC, or another government agency will receive a form in the mail from the claims administrator, Gilardi & Co. The form will have a Claim ID and a PIN number to use when filing a claim online via FTC.gov/WU. Gilardi was hired by the Justice Department, which is responsible for returning victims’ money as part of its settlement with Western Union.

Filing a claim is free, so consumers should not pay anyone to file a claim on their behalf. No one associated with the claims process will ever call to ask for consumers’ bank account or credit card number.

If consumers are unsure as to whether an offer they receive is a scam or not, they can call the State of New Mexico Office of the Attorney General at 1-888-255-9210.