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If you lost money to a scammer whom you paid using Western Union between Jan. 1, 2004, and Jan. 19, 2017, you have until July 1 to file a claim for a refund under a settlement between the payment service and the federal government.
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In March, the government launched the second phase of consumer paybacks mandated by a 2017 deal Western Union reached with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) to settle charges that the company aided and abetted wire fraud.
Following joint investigations by the FTC, the DOJ and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Western Union agreed to forfeit $586 million to provide refunds to consumers who were deceived into using the service to send money to scammers.
More than $365 million from the forfeiture fund had been disbursed to about 148,000 victims as of mid-2021, according to the DOJ, which reviews and authorizes refund claims.
Under the deal, Western Union admitted that it did not do enough to prevent criminals from using its services for fraudulent purposes, deceiving people into sending payments by posing as suitors or family members in need of cash or promising prizes, loans, jobs, discounted products or other financial rewards in exchange for money up front.