The deadline for filing for a full reimbursement of $586 million in settlement between Western Union and the government is August 31st, after which fraudsters can be conned.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Justice has already paid out more than $366 millions to over 148,000 victims. Many of these victims are elderly. Refunds are still available. The deadline for filing a claim was recently extended.
The FTC stated that people who were tricked into sending cash via Western Union between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017 can find information on how to file a claim.
Both federal agencies stressed that any requests for payments as part of the process are fraudulent and should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Western Union admitted that criminals could use its global money transfer services to commit "hundreds and thousands" of frauds in a 2017 settlement.
At the time, the FTC claimed Western Union knew that scammers were using its services for years but ignored more 550,000 customer complaints between January 2004 and August 2015. The agency stated that fraudsters made billions of dollars in fraudulent transactions during this period.
One scam involved criminals calling Western Union customers and asking them to wire money in order to claim a prize, or help a family member. It was impossible to recover the money once it had been sent. For a cut of the profits, some Western Union agents joined the scam.
"We acknowledge that in some instances, mainly during the 2004-2012 period of time," a spokesperson for the company stated in 2017.
Last month, the FTC filed a lawsuit against Walmart alleging similar behavior. Walmart however dismissed the claims and promised to fight the suit by the FTC in court.