February 11, 2018 - SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra reminds Californians who were the victims of wire fraud via Western Union to submit a claim in order to be considered for a refund payment. The original deadline to submit a claim was February 12, 2018 and has now been extended to May 31, 2018.
“For over 13 years, Western Union failed to prevent scammers from using its wire transferring services to take advantage of consumers. That is unacceptable,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Today, in light of the new, extended application deadline, we are reminding all Californians who were tricked into wiring money via Western Union to apply for a refund. Hardworking families who were defrauded by Western Union’s services deserve justice.”
Last year, Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced a multistate settlement with Western Union. The settlement resolved an investigation that focused on complaints by consumers who were tricked into using Western Union’s wire transfer service to send money to third parties involved in schemes to defraud consumers. The states had alleged that, despite many warnings that its system was being used for frauds, Western Union failed to take corrective action to protect consumers. The multistate settlement includes a permanent injunction requiring Western Union to establish an anti-fraud program that will prevent scam artists from using Western Union’s wire transfer services to victimize consumers.
In a related, but separate agreement with the Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Department of Justice, Western Union agreed to pay $586 million in refunds to victims of wire fraud. California consumers who made a wire transfer through Western Union between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017 may be eligible for more than $65 million in refunds. It is from this pool of federal settlement money that prior victims can apply for refunds.
Attorney General Becerra has also released a guide for consumers on the different types of scams and advice on how to remain vigilant against wire fraud. Attorney General Becerra strongly encourages consumers to report scams to the Office of the Attorney General's Public Inquiry Unit by calling (800) 952-5225 or by submitting a complaint at oag.ca.gov/report.
Information about refund eligibility and the process for filing a claim is available at www.westernunionremission.com.
Source: CA. DOJ