Western Union settles with FTC, will pay millions to victims of scams

Posted at 3:34 PM, Nov 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-15 21:48:40-05

From romance to rental scams, anyone involved in a scam that has used Western Union to wire funds is now eligible to get some of that money back. 

Scams involving everything from timeshares to puppies have claimed several victims over the years. Each one of these Greater Clevelanders have one thing in common: they used Western Union to wire their cash to folks who turned out to scam artists. That cash is untraceable. 

"We cannot track where these transactions go," Detective James Schultz with Willoughby Police told News 5 in a past interview. 

Victims now have an opportunity to get at least some of their money back. 

"They're entitled to at least a partial refund," Regional FTC director Jon Steiger told News 5. 

Western Union settled charges brought against them by the FTC alleging they weren't protecting their customers from fraud, and that some of their employees had firsthand involvement in the scams.

"They knew the scams were happening, they knew the scams were using their service and they knew, in some cases, their agents were actually involved in the scams. And our allegation was they did nothing," Steiger said.

Steiger explained part of that settlement is $568 million returned to folks nationwide who lost money between January of 2004 and 2017. 

"It will depend on how many claims we get and how strong the claims are for how much money they are," he said. 

People affected have until February 2018 to file a claim with the FTC. You can find a form and more information from them on their website.

News 5 was told the most trusted way to do this is directly through them.