Settlement with Western Union protects Pennsylvanians from being victimized when wiring money to third parties Pennsylvanians victimized may be eligible for $21 million in restitution
HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced a settlement with the Western Union Company, requiring the company to install strong anti-fraud measures to protect consumers from being victimized by scams requiring them to send money to third parties through Western Union.
“We hear all the time from people across Pennsylvania who have lost large sums of money through these scams,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “This settlement puts in place meaningful safeguards to help prevent consumers from losing their hard-earned money to these scam artists.”
In addition to Pennsylvania, 48 other states and the District of Columbia participated in the settlement announced today.
As part of the settlement, Western Union has agreed to pay a total of $5 million to the states for states’ costs and fees. Pennsylvania will receive a portion of that total, yet to be determined. In addition to this settlement with the states, Western Union also settled claims related to fraud-induced transfers with the Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Department of Justice.
As part of those settlements, Western Union has agreed to pay $586 million to a fund that the Department of Justice will administer to provide refunds to victims of fraud induced wire transfers nationwide, including Pennsylvania victims. Of the $586 million, Pennsylvania consumers may be eligible for up to $21.5 million in restitution. To learn more about this settlement and how to apply for restitution: https://www.justice.gov/criminal-mlars/remission
The settlement requires Western Union, based in Colorado, to develop and put into action a comprehensive anti-fraud program designed to help detect and prevent incidents where consumers use Western Union to wire money to scam artists.
That anti-fraud program, which Western Union has agreed to evaluate and update as warranted, includes the following elements:
Attorney General Shapiro also issued a warning today to Pennsylvanians to be wary of scams, particularly those that require wiring money to a third party.
“If a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is,” Shapiro said. “We want to remind Pennsylvanians they should be extremely cautious when dealing with people they’ve met online or when participating in online contests. Scam artists are known to use every scheme imaginable to convince consumers to wire them money. With today’s settlement, we’re making it harder for scammers to get their hands on Pennsylvanians’ money.”
In addition to Pennsylvania, the following states participated in the settlement: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming and the District of Columbia.
Those who believe they have been contacted by a scam artist are encouraged to call the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection at 800-441-2555 or visit www.attorneygeneral.gov to file a complaint online.
# # #
Contact the Press Office
PA Office of Attorney General / Press Office
16th Floor, Strawberry Square
Harrisburg, PA 17120