Nearly everyone has been approached by scammers online — people claiming you won the lottery or a prize, someone posing as a relative who needs money, or saying you owe them (or the government) money. There’s some good news for the unlucky ones who accidentally sent cash to scammers: You might finally be able to get some of that money back.
A new $586 million settlement between the federal government and the wiring service Western Union will pay back people who were cheated out of their money.
The suit alleged that Western Union knew about scammers using their service to trick people and intentionally didn’t report money laundering tactics being used on their service, according to a press release.
“Knowing that its agents were involved in fraudulent schemes – and knowing that it had a legal obligation to detect and report this criminal conduct to the authorities – Western Union failed to act, leading to massive victim losses,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Blanco in a press release.
“American consumers lost money while Western Union looked the other way,” added FTC Acting Chairman Maureen K. Ohlhausen in a press release. “We’re pleased to start the process that will get that money back into consumers’ rightful hands.”
Here’s how the process works
If you ever sent money to a scammer through Western Union between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017, you can…