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NEWS RELEASE: Refunds from Western Union for Scams

Posted on Apr 27, 2022 in Main, News Releases, OCP

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND CONSUMER AFFAIRS

OFFICE OF CONSUMER PROTECTION

DAVID Y. IGE GOVERNOR

CATHERINE P. AWAKUNI COLÓN DIRECTOR

STEPHEN H. LEVINS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF CONSUMER PROTECTION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 27, 2022

Refunds from Western Union for Scams

HONOLULU — The state Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) reminds Hawaii residents that refunds are still available to people who were tricked into wiring money to scammers through Western Union between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017.

People that didn’t file a claim for a refund yet have until July 1, 2022 to file online or postmark paper claims. The refunds are part of a $586 million settlement Western Union reached with the FTC and Department of Justice in 2017 for violating the law when it failed to guard against fraud in its system.

People can submit claims through mailed prefilled forms showing eligible dollar loss amounts, based on the report(s) filed with Western Union, or can file new claims online at westernunionremissionphase2.com. Questions about the claims process, including disagreements about the loss amount printed on the claim form, are also addressed on the Western Union Remission Phase 2 website.

“I urge anyone who believes that they became a victim of fraud after wiring funds through Western Union to immediately file for restitution. The July 1st deadline will soon be upon us and defrauded Hawaii consumers must act now”, said Stephen Levins, executive director of the State of Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection.

​​​​​​​Avoid refund scams:

  • You don’t have to pay to file your claim.
  • You don’t need a lawyer to file a claim.
  • Don’t pay anyone who contacts you and says they’ll help you file, or help you get your money back.

The Western Union Company (Western Union), a global money services business headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, agreed to forfeit $586 million and enter into agreements with the Federal Trade Commission, the Justice Department, and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices of the Middle District of Pennsylvania, the Central District of California, the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and the Southern District of Florida. In its agreement with the Justice Department, Western Union admits to criminal violations including willfully failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program and aiding and abetting wire fraud.

The complaint charged that for many years, fraudsters around the world used Western Union’s money transfer system even though the company has long been aware of the problem, and that some Western Union agents have been complicit in fraud. The FTC’s complaint alleges that Western Union declined to put in place effective anti-fraud policies and procedures and has failed to act promptly against problem agents. Western Union has identified many of the problem agents but has profited from their actions by not promptly suspending and terminating them.

In resolving the FTC charges, Western Union agreed to a monetary judgment of $586 million and to implement and maintain a comprehensive anti-fraud program with training for its agents and their front line associates, monitoring to detect and prevent fraud-induced money transfers, due diligence on all new and renewing company agents, and suspension or termination of noncompliant agents.

More information about the Western Union refund program and its compensation to victims is available on the Western Union remission website at www.westernunionremission.com. Further questions may be directed to the Western Union Remission Administrator by phone at 844-319-2124 or by email at [email protected].

For more information about eligibility and the claims process go to ftc.gov/wu. The FTC’s new interactive dashboards for refund data provide a state-by-state breakdown of refunds, as well as refund programs from other FTC cases. In 2019, FTC actions led to more than $232 million in refunds to consumers across the country.

More information on consumer protection is available at the Office of Consumer Protection’s website: https://cca.hawaii.gov/ocp/.

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Media Contact: April Rogers Communications Officer Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Email: [email protected] Phone: (808) 586-7582