Schneier on Security
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November 18, 2005
Fraud and Western Union
Western Union has been the conduit of a lot of fraud. But since they're not the victim, they don't care much about security. It's an externality to them. It took a lawsuit to convince them to take security seriously.
Western Union, one of the world's most frequently used money transfer services, will begin warning its customers against possible fraud in their transactions.
Persuading consumers to send wire transfers, particularly to Canada, has been a popular method for con artists. Recent scams include offering consumers counterfeit cashier's checks, advance-fee loans and phony lottery winnings.
More than $113 million was swindled in 2002 from U.S. residents through wire transfer fraud to Canada alone, according to a survey conducted by investigators in seven states.
Washington was one of 10 states that negotiated an $8.5 million settlement with Western Union. Most of the settlement would fund a national program to counsel consumers against telemarketing fraud.
In addition to the money, the company has agreed to increase fraud awareness at more than 50,000 locations, develop a computer program that would spot likely fraud-induced transfers before they are completed and block transfers from specific consumers to specific recipients when the company receives fraud information from state authorities.
Posted on November 18, 2005 at 11:06 AM
• 111 Comments
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Not only is Western Union not the victim, it actually profits from these transfers. So arguably it's not so much an externality as a pleasure doing business.
Pretty much the same thing can be said about ebay. As long as the crooks pay their ebay fees, ebay doesn't have a lot of motivation to do anything about auction fraud.
How is such fraud a problem with Western Union's security? They're executing orders exactly as their customers ask. It's not their fault that the customers are foolish enough to wire money out of the country without due diligence.
My family is a frequent user of Western union's services, and I have a couple of observations.
First, I have seen posted for a while notices advising persons sending money out that they should not be sending money for the reasons listed in the article as being scams.
Second, I agree with antibozo that Western Union profits by being used as a conduit in these illegal scams, but I hardly feel that alone constitutes complicity. By that logic, the company which rented the truck to Timothy McVeigh was complicit in the OK City bombing.
The larger problem here is the lage number of people who are both stupid and greedy. If you shut down Western Union, Money Gram, VIgo and all the other wire transfer services, folks will find some other means of separating the gullible from their money. I don't agree with the notion that Western Union is a willing accomplice, and that increasing their liability will address the underlying problem.
Re due diligence: So, if someone asks you to courier a million dollars in a briefcase to someone in Canada, you don't think you might want to ask questions? IOW, if there's something obviously fishy about a transaction, any participant is potentially culpable.
Re ebay: my point is not that WU has little motivation to correct anything; it's that they theoretically have a definite motivation to /promote/ the fraudulent transactions. Check their fees--transferring US$1000 to Canada using the "Money In Minutes" option nets them US$81 in fees. With smaller amounts, the percentage is even higher.
I'm going to be tossing gelignite on the thermal lance here with my open ended question, but wasn't Napster nailed for being a conduit for illegal transfers? How are the two things different (if we can ignore that one of these things whizzed on a music monopoly, not to name names here). Personally if the 'tards want to give their money away, let them. The real problem is the scammer posing as a legitimate offer. The scammer is the bad guy here. Instead of going after the easy (and useless) target, we need to see if we can use the conduit to help catch the bad guy.
> they theoretically have a definite motivation to /promote/ the fraudulent transactions
*I* have a theoretical motive to promote fraudulent transactions that make me money, but that doesn't mean I do it. I'm honest, and therefore don't do such things. Do you have any reason to believe otherwise about WU?
I have to agree with the others here. I don't see why this is a problem with WU's security. If criminals were hacking WU's system to redirect money transfers, *that* would be a problem with WU's security. But that's not what's happening here. Person X is wiring money to person Y. The reasons for the transfer aren't WU's concern. Should WU really be obligated to protect their stupid customers from themselves?
@jammit: Napster's business model was ruled to be based *primarily* on promoting illegal transactions. Giving copies of copyrighted material to other people beyond the limitations of fair use is illegal. On the other hand, there's nothing fundamentally illegal about person X sending money to person Y. The illegality comes from the circumstances surrounding the transfer, but that's outside WU's involvement.
To add a bit to ++Don's comment, and at the risk of soundling like a shill for WU, they do ask for additional information in certain circumstances. Large sums require Social Security numbers, you need to present ID to pick up your money, etc.
I have often seen espoused in this forum the ridiculousness of restrictions placed on internet access because some bad actors use it for ill gotten gains. Could somebody explain to me how using the internet is different from using Western Union?
++Don, I don't follow your response. I'll state my point once more: characterizing the cost of these transactions as an "externality" to WU is a bit off in that WU profits directly from the transfers, in a manner proportionate to their volume. Dr Schneier's usual argument (which I agree with) is that credit card companies don't do enough to authenticate transactions and their participants because the costs are external to their business. Here, the cost is indeed external but the profit still accrues. There is a parallel in that the credit card companies receive a transaction fee for fraudulent charges, but that fee is tiny in comparison to the fee being levied by WU. The potential for profit to WU from fraud theoretically motivates them to be less suspicious about the nature of all transactions.
I do agree that this is not the same sort of situation as with credit card companies, since this is not a case of someone pretending to be someone else.
But consider this: WU declines to allow their service to be used to transfer money for online gambling purposes. This is because online gambling would be illegal in some places. This doesn't necessarily mean that it would be directly illegal for WU to transfer money to a casino from a customer who resides in an area where online gambling is illegal. But WU would be participating in an illegal activity so might share some culpability.
Similarly, it's reasonable to require WU to go to certain lengths to assure that the transactions they facilitate are not fraudulent. Since they actually profit in all cases, some pressure is warranted to balance their motivations.
"Should WU really be obligated to protect their stupid customers from themselves?"
If you live in a nanny state, yes. Protecting people from themselves is the ostensible purpose of a number of US laws.
"On the other hand, there's nothing fundamentally illegal about person X sending money to person Y."
Interesting point. I assume you mean that the rights to money automatically transfer along with the cash, whereas rights to IP/media are presumed retained even when the IP is transferred? That's an artificial designation, no?
I mean if you have a system that transfers rights within a set of guidelines, then even when cash transfers someone might claim the transaction could be invalid (due to fraud, deception, etc.). Thus, there is nothing fundamentally illegal about any transfer of anything, unless you consider the conditions of the transfer, right?
It strikes me as not all that different from credit card companies handing out cards based on a name, dob and ssn. Having your ssn freely available isn't a problem per se. The problem occurs when some entity attaches undo consideration to the fact that that a name, dob and ssn match, and therefore must be provided by the owner.
So what do you want? That Western Union should make you answer a lot of questions about the purpose of the transaction and how well you know the addressee? That they should refuse to transfer your money if you don't look smart enough? Can I, as a self-respecting citizen who doesn't want the supervision of an overweening nanny state, "test out" of these restrictions and send money to anybody I darn well please? Or are you going to make the Western Unions so irrevocably liable that nobody can afford to take the risk of wiring my money overseas for me?
It's cheap to lob vague criticisms at parties to a mishap. Let's see a concrete suggestion.
> So what do you want?
I think the measures detailed in the body of this article are a pretty good start. Why? Do you think educating people is only the business of a "nanny state"?
> I think the measures detailed in the body of this article are a pretty good start.
So . . . if I want to provide some sort of consumer service, I should start by giving $8.5 million to a bunch of politicians? That sounds like Zimbabwe.
This is comparable to the question whether Internet providers are responsible for child porn etc. They cannot be held responsible, but they can block certain sites when told so. WU can block certain transactions when there is reason to suspect fraud. But remember that this is a grave interference. Money transfer services may start to block much more transfers than is reasonable. So state authorities will tell WU so-and-so shouldn't receive any money. This won't be warrants issued by courts respecting due process. Innocent people may end up on black money transfer lists. Remember those no-fly lists?
After 9/11, whole money transfer networks were closed down. In consequence, many people in countries like Somalia didn't receive the money on which they depended. Countless organisations and individuals were branded terrorist supporters by the US government, with the consequence that their bank accounts were closed down, their operations dismantled, all over the world. No hint of due process was involved here. The FBI just said so, no need to offer any proof (and they have been wrong in many instances), and
nobody dared object even though such methods are illegal in every decent system of justice.
Alerting consumers to fraud threats is a good idea. Giving the authorities, or simply private companies, the power to block any number of private transactions (or to censor the internet) is a bad idea.
P-S Now what's that - "telemarketing fraud"? I thought telemarketing was legal?
@antibozo: My point is that *everyone* is _theoretically_ motivated to engage in illegal activity, or simply to turn a blind eye to it, when it's profitable to do so. It is a person's morality that allows him to resist these theoretical motivations. You are implicitly accusing WU of condoning illegal activity simply because they happen to profit from it unknowingly, except that you have no evidence that they are indeed condoning it.
Regarding the online gambling, sure, they're going to refuse to participate in something they know is illegal in some jurisdictions. But it's pretty easy to refuse to participate when the recipient is "Joe's Internet Casino." It's much harder to refuse to participate when the recipient is "Joe Blow" in Canada. How is WU suppose to know that Joe Blow is a crook?
@Grady: Yep, nanny state. Just because I live in it doesn't mean I agree with it.
@Davi: Why are you bringing IP into this? I never mentioned IP, and so you have no way to know what my beliefs on IP rights transfer are. And I'm not contesting that these fraudulent money transfers are indeed fraudulent. I'm just saying that WU shouldn't be held culpable for other people's bad decisions. What do you think WU should do when someone later claims that a transfer turned out to be part of a fraud? Refund the money? Credit card companies do that, but see my next paragraph for how CCs are a totally different situation.
@Rich: It's totally different from credit card fraud or identity theft, because in those cases the victim is not directly involved in the crime. The CC company is at fault because, as Bruce has so often pointed out, they didn't properly validate the transaction. In the case of tricking someone into wiring you money, the victim is an active participant.
@piglet: I think "telemarketing fraud" refers to using telemarketing techniques, which as you say are legal, to perpetrate frauds. The payoff of the fraud is tricking the victim into wiring you some money.
All this said, I think WU *should* inform its customers about scams. But as an exercise in good customer service, not because of a gov't mandate.
++Don> My point is that *everyone* is _theoretically_ motivated to engage in illegal activity, or simply to turn a blind eye to it, when it's profitable to do so.
The question I was raising was not whether this statement is true, but whether the consequences of the illegal activity are an externality to WU. I am not a lawyer, and I am not asserting that what they are doing is or is not illegal, nor am I saying implicitly or explicitly that they condone it. I am saying that because there is a business case for allowing the activity to occur, the activity isn't external, at least not in the sense that Dr Schneier usually means it.
The credit card companies, in contrast, profit very little from fraudulent transactions, while for each fraudulent transaction there may be one or more fewer legitimate transactions offsetting that small profit, so it really is external to them.
Maybe if you go back and read Dr Schneier's past posts regarding the externality of fraud costs to credit card companies, this'll make more sense to you.
Still going with my napster post, if we trade copyrighted music that would be the same as sending drug money or ripping someone off through Western Union. I don't see how WU is responsible for the lack of IQ on their customers part. I've heard that the Golden Gate bridge has been sold a few times as scrap metal. I don't hear people asking for the heads of the local gub'mnt over it.
fools and their money are soon parted. the ability of government to protect stupid people from the consequences of every imaginable stupid act is not unlimited, nor does it come without cost.
Bruce thinks that litigation will produce better security results than legislation, because legislators may produce bad legislation, but companies will gradually adapt their business to the economic pressures of the litigation. (I'm probably oversimplifying things here.) But what happens when the pressures from bad litigation are just as -- or even more -- perverse?
I'm yet another one on WU's side here. This case is about the overly-litigious American legal system again ripping off a reasonably decent company to the profit of lawyers and reward of the foolish but greedy, thereby *distorting* economic incentives to provide good security. If I use WU's services then their responsibilities to me are to get my money to its intended destination promptly, reliably and securely, and to maintain my privacy to the extent permitted by law. There is absolutely no reasonable way WU should be held responsible for how I spend my money. In fact, it's none of their damned business.
But now instead of focussing on their actual security obligations (reliable transport, safe transport, confidentiality), WU's "security obligations" will focus on giving financial advice. This is absolutely idiocy. Next thing, people will be demanding that the US Mint print legal tender with the legend "CAUTION: paper money may be used in fraudulent transactions. If you give this note to someone you can't trust, they may not give it back, and that would be bad. This notice does not constitute legal or financial advice."
But it gets worse. Much worse:
"In addition to the money, the company has agreed to ... block transfers from specific consumers to specific recipients when the company receives fraud information from state authorities."
Oh. My. God. Where is the magic word, "warrant"!?! So now the local cops can lock up my money just on their say-so!?! This is absolutely hideous. At least if this had been legislated it would have been subject to some public debate and scrutiny, and I bet most of the readers of this blog would have been pretty strongly opposed.
"More than $113 million was swindled in 2002 from US..."
Right. In other words, this was a tiny issue in comparison to the billions lost annually to credit card fraud, which meanwhile continues along unmolested with only the most rudimentary security measures, utterly unsuitable for "card-holder not present" transactions, and nobody does anything about it.
What the US needs is some major campaign finance reform, followed by Dick's advice from Henry VI, part 2.
So who is goiung to punish Visa or MC or Amex for purchsing online fraud schems? ... or gambling... which BTW its ilegal in the USA?
This is about politics, not consumer protection.
@ Peter Pearson
I agree completely. Bruce always points out how important it is to verify the transaction. But if you are willingly sending money from your account to someone whose name and contact information you know, what is Western Union supposed to do, short of asking a lot of unwanted questions or developing a black list?
thank you for giving me the opportunity to clear up a popular misconception. shakespeare wasn't dissing the legal profession when he gave that line to dick the butcher, he was complimenting us. dick was plotting to take over, and he recognized that lawyers are the bulwark of social stability and individual rights. approximately 400 years after that play was written, we still are. it is testimony to our effectiveness that we are so vilified, and we can't help that some people have bought into industry's incessant trial-lawyers-are-evil line (as if defense counsel didn't try cases too).
WU *do* try to prevent fraud! Read on....
I recently purchased an item on eBay from a seller in the US (I am in the UK). He requested payment via Western Union.
I was sure the seller was genuine (eBay feedback and some googling) and made the payment via WU. It was of the order of 130USD.
This payment was blocked and an email was received asking me to call their offices. I duly did.
They were concerned about fraudulent transactions and tried very hard to dissuade me from going ahead with the transaction. They explained the common fraudulent schemes and took some convincing to allow the payment through!
The commission I had to pay on the transfer hurt though, it was something around 14GBP if memory serves.
PS In case anyone is wondering, I got my mini cqc7 a few days later :-)
"shakespeare wasn't dissing the legal profession when he gave that line to dick the butcher"
Ah, the irony that lawyers should use the same sophistry against the Bard's words as that which he was condemning! I'm afraid, another_bruce, that you are the victim of a little fib (I know you are not responsible for it), and it is that which is, alas, becoming a widespread misconception. Shakespeare was most definitely "dissing" lawyers (and also does so in several other plays, sometimes even more vigorously). It is true that Dick was one of the baddies (although only a henchman), but the phrase in question is not part of a plot, it comes from the scene where the usurper Jack was trying to drum up support among the poor by painting a picture of what his future Utopian society would be like. The context makes it pretty clear that the audience, or at least the poor and powerless, are presumed to regard a lawyerless society in a highly positive light: it goes right alongside equal rights for all, feeding the poor, and reducing the price of beer!
An interesting essay on this can be found at:
I generally agree with the comment that WU can't be responsible for peoples stupidity. What they could tighten up on is the identification of the recpient of the funds. For larger sums of over $500 (and frauds usually involve larger sums), WU should insist on, and validate, more Id on the part of the recipient. They have to do it already in many markets because of money laundering requirements but I suspect (I don't know) that Canada is probably viewed as a lower risk market so I the checks on the recipient Id are not so onerous.
What is going on with Western Union and its money transfers?
So far, I have lost almost $2000.00 of my money transfered through Western Union to Nigeria, that never made it to the destination.
Just yesterday, the money transfer I made to Nigeria was stolen right in the 'nose' of my brother at the local Bank in Nigeria; right there as he went to collect it.
The teller gave him a form to fill in full, all the information about the transfer including test question answers and his signature. When he was done and gave back the completed form to the teller, he was told that they could'nt locate the money in their computer system with the money transfer number he'd written down. So he was sent out of the Bank. As he called me from there, it seemed, the money got paid because when I'd immediately called Western Union here, I was informed that the money was paid to my brother. I called my brother back, he told me he was not paid and that he went to only one Bank. I then called Western Union back, they kept saying the money was paid correctly, but the payment was made not at the very Bank that my brother went, but in the same payout location and city. When I requested information about the Bank that the money was paid, Western Union refused to tell me. All I got was that they were going to request a copy of the payout receipt.
I am thinking of filing a Law Suit against Western Union to recover my money and put the authorities at an alert!
As it stands now, to me, I suspect that Western Union itself may have a stake in all the monies stolen from its cutomers.
Can you immagine how much is ripped off everybody each and every day for just attempting to send money but never gets delivered? This may as well be a multi-billion dollar business for Western Union!
my name is Tamara and I have a question. My uncle, who lives in Bosnia and Herzegovina, has recieved a letter from Prize Award Comission from New York in which has been written that he has won 3. prize, actually 1.000.000,00 dollars. They wanted first that my uncle pays 1.200,00 then 3.000,00 dollars for money transfer. I think that this is some group of people who do this kind of things to get the money. This is fraud. Do you know some organisation who would be intrested in preventing this kind of fraud? Who can I contact?
I have a tel. number, address, web-site of this people, I think that could help to stop them from doing it.
I can't see how that would be productive in any way, in fact it will probably hinder your attempts at justice whilst enriching no-one but lawyers. Surely it is obvious that your money was stolen by corrupt staff at the bank your brother visited? Assuming that the local police are not themselves corrupt, the sensible course of action is to complain to the police closest to that bank. When you have official advice of an investigation, present it to Western Union with your permission that they co-operate with the investigating officer, who should then be able to wrap up such a simple matter within hours.
Yes, this is a regrettably common form of fraud generically known as advance fee fraud. The cover story varies considerably but always boils down to you sending money in order to get access to a large windfall of cash; of course after you have paid, the money you were promised never turns up. Who to contact depends on where the fraudsters are located -- they often try to conceal their true location. If you are fairly sure they are in New York, or can't figure out their location, try contacting the US FBI's Internet Fraud Centre at:
Do WU have "Customer Service"?
Exactly one month ago, to the day, I went into a WU office in Belgium where I was travelling but not living,and transfered 700 USD (cost me 772 Euro!). When 2 days later the money had not arrived and the 'receiver' was not able to trace the transfer, I tried the WU MTCN online tracking system and found that they had no record of such a number in their system.
I tried calling their contact number, got passed (after lengthy holding on an expensive international line) from one person to another till the line went dead. Recorded delivery airmail to WU brought no reply or even acknowledgement of receipt.
My local WU office in UK sympathised but could offer no helpful suggestion - except to keep calling....
My French is not good enough to make phone enquiries to WU office in Central Station Brussels where I paid my money. Can anyone offer me a ray of hope?
Met someone on a singles website and had been talking for a few weeks. Had exchanged e-mails, conversations through instant messaging, etc. After such time, he was supposedly in the UK under a business contract for two weeks, but wanted to meet. He had asked if there were any Wells Fargo Banks in my area. After assuring him that there were, he had asked if I could open an account with them so that he could transfer some money into that account. This money would be used to wire to him to pay for the persons airfare and salary to take his place while he was to come visit me. I opened the bank account on Saturday morning. Sent him the account info as requested. $1500.00 was transferred into the account that afternoon. Monday, the money that was deposited electronically was still pending. Tuesday, those funds were available to me for withdrawal. I withdrew the funds, wired the money thru WU to the person that I believed was supposed to be the third party that he was speaking of. This transaction cost me $92 for the fee PLUS $100 to open the bank account. Later that week, I was notified that the $1500.00 that had been transferred to my account was declined due to non-authorization transfer from the account holder to which the money was drawn from. Western Union never warned me about any possible fraudulent activities via the customer service phone. I live from paycheck to paycheck with very little savings that is dwindling fast due to my having to repay the funds back to the bank.
To Western Union management... I could really use your help regarding this situation since you have such a wonderful security process. I expect to hear from one of your representatives as soon as possible.
Thank you for all of your cooperation and help.
I have all the necessary paperwork (receipt) with transaction #'s etc.
Your first mistake Lloyd was going on a chat line looking for love. Second mistake was opening up an account for some one you never met. Living paycheck to paycheck, which you said, I would think you would be a little more penny wise. Seems to me that the little head was thinking for the big head and you want WU to cover your ass because you were horny. Oh yea and the third mistake was being a fag. Lonely gay and stupid is no way to go thru life son.
I recently arranged to purchase a mobile phone, through the internet, from a man in Italy who asked me to pay through Western Union. He advised me that I could use my friend’s name or a fictitious name on the payment transfer to ensure that he would not be able to claim the money, until I received the phone as he would have no idea what name was on the MTC. On receipt of the phone I could then change the name on the MTC to his correct name. In good faith I sent the payment of £250 through Western Union, using my friend’s name, in the belief that WU were an honest and law abiding organization and my money was safe in your hands. However, I was shocked to learn that my money had been paid out immediately although the name was fictions and a complete secret from the receiver. Needless to say I never received the phone.
I immediately phoned Western Union and spoke to a Customer Service Representative and explained the problem. She was sympathetic and confirmed that WU WERE AWARE THEY HAD AN INTERNAL PROBLEM AND CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION WAS BEING FRAUDULENTLY LEAKED OUT. She actually told me that this happens all the time.
I complained, to Western Union’s head office, about this fraud that had been perpetrated by a Western Union employee and one that they were obviously aware of but inexcusably seem to totally condone. I am appalled by they negligence and irresponsibility and they have not even had the courtesy to respond.
I just recieved an email that is similiar to the Pay Pal scam emails. It is purportedly from Western Union saying there is a problem with my account and then they list the last credit card I used with only the last four numbers. They ask me to verify this card and send them the entire number with the three letter code on the back. I would think that Western Union would be aggressively seeking to prosecute those using them as a source of scam but I don' expect them to do much.
I was the victim of one of these scams as well, and I've noticed that WU blatantly lies about their pickup policies. I sent my payment to the UK, and it was picked up without ID by a man in Romania. I'm thinking about a class action lawsuit here for all of the people that have been scammed.
Looks like WU took it too seriously.
I have just tried to pay a guy from eBay via WU.
So they called me and told a lot of very bad things about
this person. That he is on their fraud list, it is not his real name,
his rating on eBay means absolutely nothing etc.
But it looks like all that was bull s...
From someone with years of international finance experience:
If you had any idea how IRATE and BELIGERANT customers get when I as the CSR try to help protect them by questioning the purpose of the money transfer, you would understand why this continues to happen DESPITE the best of efforts... I have actually had to refuse a transfer because I know the consumer is either lying to me or just too uninformed to realize they are party to a scam, such as the fake money order/cashiers check scam and the Canadian/Nigerian/UK/Spain/Italy purchase/lottery scams. Part of the scam includes telling fraud victims NOT to disclose the purpose of the money transfer, even to the money transfer service company, at the risk of "having to pay taxes" or some other lie. Please don't insult hardworking American's best efforts because some stranger in a foreign country is better at scamming the public than the public is at telling the truth. It's bad people manipulating a otherwise very good, sound, efficient, and needed service... plain and simple. Yes, we have stepped up efforts, but it's not because we never made efforts.
I found someone on craigslist who was selling tickets to a sporting event. They said I could wire money via WU to a third party, even someone I know. I gave the seller the name of the third party and, in theory, the seller was going to call to verify the funds and then send me the tickets. Once I verified the tickets were authentic, I was to change the name on the money transfer to this seller. Seemed too good to be true, and it was.
The seller used a fake ID with the third party's name to collect the money. I obviously never received the tickets and this person walked away with my cash. WU said they can't do anything about it, it happens all the time and they're not responsible. The wouldn't tell me the location at which the money was collected. They told me to file a police report and report it to the FBI. The police won't even let me file a report, claiming no real crime was committed against me and that the FBI is more capable of handling this kind of case.
Regardless, Western Union should be responsible for handing over money to someone who does not have legitimate identification. The police told me to file a small claims case against Western Union. Does anyone think this could work? Is there a precedent for this type of suit? I'm thinking of doing it.
I think that once someone is scammed out of money through WESTERN UNION that they are responible to put a fraud alert out on that said person. There are over 80 e-bay scammers from Romanian and WESTERN UNION should be know that something is going on if millions of dollars are entering the country. They should cut these people off with Fraud Alert or least have them invesigated, unless the WESTERN UNION offices in that country are in on it.
In response to Fred's comment....the same exact thing just happened to me Fred. The only difference is that the person that scammed me, didn't even use a fake ID. They did not have to present ID because they picked up the money at some sort of a machine. Western Union employees are not even aware of the existence of these machines, and their Fraud department is absolutely terrible. They have told me on numerous occasions that they were going to call me back, and they have yet to do so. This company is extremely shady and is doing very very little to prevent fraud. Something needs to be done about this or people will continue to get scammed via this AWFUL company. Anybody want to join me in a Class-Action suit?
as the comment made above do you think anything can be done to WU with a class action suit i would be more than willing to help out
I had an experience with WU also. Let me start by saying I have used WU many times before this incident... but will never use it again.
I had just moved to London, UK from Rome, Italy and upon my arrival i noticed my ATM wasn't working at B\banks. So my family agreed to send me money for moving in expenses and university fees through WU. When i went to collect the money the following happened:
1)They told me the security code didn't exist
2)I double checked the code with my family and went back
3) Told me the code didn't exist again and suggested I call WU.
4) I call WU and they tell me they can't do anything.
5)I yell for a while
6) They tell me the money was already picked up somewhere but won't tell me where/when by who.
7) Back in Italy my father discovers the money was picked up in Ireland about 15 minutes before I did.
This happened in september 2005. We are still waiting for WU legal department to call back. They have not sent a copy of the receipt the person used to pick up the money... nor have they even attempted to explain or understand what has happened.
I lost 2000 bp in that transaction and had to rely on my friend travelling with me to pay for everything till i sorted out my ATM card.
I understand that fraud happens... i don't understand why WU refuses to communicate with us about it.
ROMANIA! it's the place of scam artists. just last week i wired $2500.00 to a guy who was sending me fake (but very convincing) ebay emails. He told me that he was american, and was in the UK on business so i wired the money to london, and it was picked up shortly after. After not hearing from him again, i knew i had just gotten screwed, and so my uncle checked where his IP adress was signaled, he was in romania, and the FBI basically told me they cant do anything. this sucks. anybody know anything i can do?!
Daniel: almost the exact same thing has happened to me. I sent money using WU to my mother (I'm in California, she's in the UK), but when she went to collect it 4 days later her local WU agent said there was no record of the transaction. I called WU and they told me that the money had already been collected 2 days before, by someone living 500 miles away from her.
Like you, they would give no useful details over the phone but they did (after 5 weeks) send me a copy of the form the thief had filled in. Most of the pertinent details had been blanked out, making it very difficult to mount an effective challenge so I'll have to wait and see what they say to my arguments that my mother was not the one that collected the money.
At least California has some pretty good consumer protection laws for this sort of thing but WU have been barely co-operative at best, and often rude and dismissive over my claims. Every time I speak to them they insist that they paid the correct person, as if they would know better than I. They even told me that perhaps she'd forgotten she travelled over 1000 miles to collect the money!
Damien: I found this at fraud.org
Be wary of offers to send you an “advance��? on your “commission.��? Some con artists use this ploy to build trust and to get money from your bank. They send you a check for part of your “commission,��? instructing you to deposit it and then wire payment to them for taxes, bonding, or some other phony purpose. The bank tells you the check has cleared because the normal time has passed to be notified that checks have bounced. After you wire the money, the check that you deposited finally bounces because it turned out to be an elaborate fake. Now the crooks have your payment, and you’re left owing your bank the amount that you withdrew.
i too have been a victim of fraud via western union transfers. I tried to send my grandmother money in italy. i went to an outlet and made the transfer. Next i get told my grandmother didnt fly out due to illness so i went straight away to cancel it. Next i'm being told someone has produced a valid ID and collected the money. It was collected in Italy roma, when my gran was in scotland in the UK. This shouldn't have happend. i have requested they send me the slip asap but by the looks of things its going to be weeks before i get a response.I have informed the police here, not that much will get done. probably. i will post any responses i have on this. even though i will have aged 50 years
It looks like I am on the opposite side of this fraud. Western Union does have a black list, in use today. They have collected well over $1000 usd in fees from me over the last year and a half; however, as of two days ago, they will not accept my transactions online or over the phone. When I called to ask why, then told me they would not discuss it.
This happened after a conversation with their fraud department, where they were asking for an address I lived at 20 years ago. Because I was moving around alot back then, I had no idea what the address is. When I asked for a supervisor, a guy came online... the conversation went down the same road, so I asked for his supervisor. He told me no one else was available. After other phone calls, it turns out there was someone else available, and I was able to get the transaction through.
The next time i tried to send something (today), I found that they will not accept transactions from me online or over the phone. Keep in mind, I have never had any fraud on my account, never disputed any charges made to Western Union, and have been a cash cow for them over the last year and a half.
They do have a black list, and are using it to prevent people from using their online and telephone services. Being the overly generous company they are, they have given me the option of taking cash into a local office.
Needless to say, there are other companies out there who provide better service WITHOUT making a good customer feel like a criminal. Companies like that will be the ones to get my service going forward.
Western Union needs to reconsider the balance between their Fraud Prevention and Customer Service. Currently it looks like Customer Service has lost.
The first of 2006, I was scam out of Canada they called me on the phone. They told me to sent the money to Kirkland and they pick up Montreal. I fell Western Union, still does business as if it is still in the 1800's. I called them they more less said it wasn't there problem. And I, wrote to the main office in St. Louis, MO. Maybe this is away the terrorist are getting there money for there causes. Like the scam out of African. Is there a law suit on Western Union?
I was sent £1000 from an overseas customer. Western Union told me the money was ready in London but they needed my name to be changed so that it was the same as my passport, the 10-digit money control number & the full name of the sender. It took 6 weeks to get these details. When I gave them, Western Union told me they had paid out to someone with the same name as me a week before.
When I asked them to investigate the fraud, they were not interested. They told me their company policy was that investigations can only be started by the sender. They refuse to investigate possible fraud in London until they heard from the sender.
I do not recommend using their services.
Western Union is definately to blame. They do not bother to thwart any fraud AND they even protect the thieves. I tried to track money that was scammed and guess what? Unless you have a subpena, you don't get anything from them. Nothing. No help. My local police were completely useless with the subpena and even my attorney didnt know what he could do. Sadly, Western Union is nothing more than a bed partner to the Nigerians, Russians, Philippine scammers across the globe. A good class action lawsuit is in order here.
The blacklist hit me today. I did one transaction without any problems whatsoever, and realized I needed to increase the amount of money.
When I did a second transaction, it told me I couldn't do it online. Same story as above - nobody would tell me anything.
HOWEVER, Western Union put a hold on my money within seconds after I tried the online transaction and before they decided I was not worthy of their services!
If a class action lawsuit happens, count me in!
Tell me this. If you send a large amount of money to another country and this money gets picked up illegally by some one else other then the intended recipent, who is liable. If the money has not been given to the correct person tell me who is liable? The person who put their fate and money in the service or western union who's inadequate security (and their inability to check for proper identifaction) could not provide this service.
This is what has happened to me while sending a large amount of money from China to Ireland. This person had all the details of the transaction (obviously provided internally). They refuse to accept responsability for losing my money. I have all the documentation to prove this and have willingly provided them with this to help them investigate but still they refuse to admit they are wrong.
I have been reading the various emails posted here and I am not reassured. Has anyone who has ever been scammed out of money in a Western Union transaction actually got reimbursed? And if so, what is the right procedure to follow?
Last week I sent 3000Euros from a French island in the Caribbean to be collected by my mother in Ireland via Western Union. I have been sending money regularly with WU over the last couple of years and she always picks it up in the same place. On arrival at the WU branch, she filled the Receiver Form with the correct MTCN at the counter and handed it over with her ID to the WU agent. The agent went to her computer with both and then came back to my mother and asked her to sign the form, which she did. The agent then went to her computer again, and a couple of minutes later returned, telling my mother there was 'no match found' on the MTCN she had given, and was she sure she had the right number. My mother said she would have to return home to check it, so the agent tore up the Receiver Form and my mother left without the money.
It has since transpired that the MTCN she had shown was correct, and that the money was picked up 1.5 hours before she tried to collect it, in the same city in Ireland.
After speaking to a rep on one of the 1800 WU numbers in Ireland,I the sender, contacted WU France as I have the contract with and I was told it is their duty to investigate the matter by contacting WU in Ireland. So far, no response. I also contacted the WU Head Office in Cork City, who requested a letter from me, in which I had to explain what the money was intended for. Once I did this, the lady there told me she would send me out the Receiver Form a questionnaire that would start WU's investigation. The receiver sent to me stated that the 3000Euros by my mother in Ireland on the 30 08 06, and that the transaction was carried out in accordance with WU procedures.
No other details.
The lady in WU told me they will release no other information about the transaction unless it is requested by the police. I contacted the police in the town the money was picked up in and my mother went in and made a statement. That is as far as I have got.
Reading all the posts here, I am not sure if I am going to have much success in retrieving the money. What bothers me is that if WU say the money was picked up in accordance with their procedures, tht means someone went in to the WU branch, with a copy of my mother's ID, forged her signature, knew my details, the amount, and the MTCN. Which is a lot of information to have. At no time was a computer used to pass information.
I will let you know how I get on.
Mary, this link might help you:http://russiandetective.forumup.org/about274-russiandetective.html. This forum is for men who got ripped off by scammers posing as potential russian brides. If you read through the forum, they all use Western Union because there are bank records use that way and it's harder to prosecute. It sounds like WU requires a valid ID at time of pickup, so I am wondering how that other person picked up the money. Let us know what happens.
Just a brief comment regarding whether or not Western Union is or should be responsible for what happens in fraudulent situations... First- what idiot really thinks that they've won the Spanish or Canadian or Great Britain lottery...ESPECIALLY when you haven't even been to these places. Hello!!! And...for all of you that thought you got a heck of a deal on your Ebay product that someone said to send payment through Western Union....perhaps you should be more aware. Ebay even tells you on their website not to use Western Union for this purpose because they are NOT an escrow service. Second- the ENTIRE first page of the Western Union Send Form at the agent addresses fraud/scam, the automated system on the phone addresses the same info, AND the website addresses the information. If you don't read it or don't bother to listen....sorry people....that's YOUR fault! Thirdly, if Western Union started asking each and every customer exactly what the purpose of their transactions were- no one would ever get their money sent in a timely manner. ALSO- 95% of the people would lie about it anyway....that's what they do now. For those people that did get asked what their transfer was for, lied about it (said it was a friend or family member)....where do you get the nerve to try and call Western Union later to DEMAND your money back? Are you serious? I could go on and on here....but the bottom line is that people need to suck it up and take responsibilty for the stupid choices they make. Quit trying to blame someone else for your mistakes.
People are always looking for a scapegoat, there may have only been 1 or 2 legitimate complaints on this forum where a sender was truely sending to someone they knew that was in a different country with no other agenda and it was picked up by a crooked employee of the Western Union, or someone who had "phished" for information through the customer service line or a Western Union location.
In those cases, with the proper due diligence, you can get that resolved. Don't be discouraged by an unfriendly customer service rep who has it in their head there is no way it could have been picked up by someone else. Ask for a supervisor, and that supervisors manager if you have to! But only if the case really is what I've stated. If you know the true story is that you were told to put it under someone elses name to "protect" your funds until you get the service you were expected by the person you were doing business with, then forget it, your money is gone!
As the post before mine states, the warnings are out there!
All western union guarantees is that your money will get delivered to the INTENDED receiver, unfortunately, that intended receiver could be the person that you were preventing from getting the money!!!
If you sent it under your aunts name but the intended receiver was really the Ebay seller, then the Ebay seller is your INTENDED receiver. You never intended your aunt to pick that up, you intended the Ebay seller to pick it up at some point.
Yes, they are professional criminals you are dealing with. Yes, they manipulate the system wich can consist of "phishing" for information through the customer service line or a crooked employee at a location, wich may seem like a breach of security, but YOU are compromising the almost perfect security that Western Union has by divulging the fact that you have a money transfer out in cyberspace to someone who you dont want to receive your money!
A better way to put it is if you have $1,000 taped to the underside of a bench in the park intended for your Aunt, but you told Joe Blow Conartist that there is money somehwere in the park, Joe Blow Conartist is going to find it and it is YOUR fault.
Again, I must stress, all these websites like Ebay, where you are falling victim to these frauds, have strict warnings that you neglected to read/follow. Before you even write one thing on the Western Union form the warnings are in a big box on a page that you have to flip out of the way to get to the fields where you write in the information.
When you point your finger there are three fingers pointing back at you, there is nothing wrong with admiting you made a mistake. When you go ranting about how its someone elses fault, thats where you go wrong. Western Union has a department set up of paid employees there that tell people all day NOT to use Western Union because they are falling for a scam, which most people in turn say Western Union doesn't know what they are talking about, now send my money! This department makes NO money for Western Union, in fact, with the amount of refusals they do, it loses money (but in a good way, of course) for the company.
When you have been a victim of a scam like this there are things you can do to increase the chances of the criminal getting caught/getting your money back (Note: the chances will still be slim to none, but they will increase, in all likelyness you will have to live with the fact that the money is gone). Go to fraudaid.com, its an excellent resource for victims.
I posted a comment here on the 3rd Sept 2006 regarding 3000Euros I sent via Western Union from a French Island in the Caribe to my mother in Ireland. See above.
My tale finishes well. After toing and froing, emailing and calling WU France and Ireland and getting NOWHERE, my mother decided to call a radio programme in Ireland called Liveline, that is broadcast nationwide everyday at 2.00pm, to tell the story of what happened to our money. She told the story to the researcher of the programme who asked her if she was willing to go live on air. My mother said yes. The researcher then contacted Western Union IE and asked them if they would like to put a rep live on air with my mother, to discuss our story. They said yes and the researcher called my mother to tell her to get ready!
I was home for 10 days while this was going on. 10 minutes before the show was due to start, I got a call from Western Union telling me 'as a gesture of goodwill, even though our investigation is ongoing', that they would reimburse me my 3000Euros plus 113.50Transaction fee. I asked how I would go about collecting this. The lady told me she would ring back in 2 hours with the details. Then the researcher of the show calls (such drama!) and tells us that my mother should go live on air anyway even though WU said they would pay us back. Which she did. After she finished talking, the host of the programme said that Liveline was getting loads of calls from other people with pretty much the same story as ours.
5 minutes after the show ended I got a call from WU, with an MTCN code to pick up my money, which I did straight away, and it is now lodged safely in my bank account.
So it looks like the only thing that will stir WU into action when an incident like this occurs is the threat of bad publicity. Their service depends on the public believing that their transfer system is reliable. So, I reccommend to anyone who has been a victim of fraud, get in touch with the papers and radio.
A few interesting points came up during the radio show. Firstly, everyone that called in, that had been scammed had sent/received amounts over 1000Euros. Secondly, the police found out for us that our money was 'collected' in a branch in Clondalkin Dublin. Another caller who rang in said that her husband had sent her 1500euros via WU and when she went to collect it with her MTCN (not 20 minutes after her husband sent it) she was told that it had already been picked up. She found later it was also picked up in Clondalkin Dublin. Interesting..
Ireland is one of the biggest Western Union posts in Europe right now, with so many foreign nationals working there and sending money home with this system. The problem seems to be that it is easy for an outlet, like say an internet cafe, to become a WU agent. The way WU works is that when someone calls into a branch (say an internet cafe) to collect money, that particular agent pays the customer with their own funds and then applies to WU for a refund.
Well, I am convinced that it is an insider job. An outsider to come in and collect money needs too much info and has to be able to forge a signature. Whereas, an agent can look on his screen, check money that is due to be picked up, click a button or 2 to say that it has been paid out and then applies to WU for the refund.
Anyway, that's my story, thankfully it ended well. It looks like it is only safe to send small amounts via WU. I won't be using their service again.
I've had the same experience as a couple of people have outlined.
This "service" is not cheap, and I have
used it extensively to send money to
relatives and make purchases. The time
before last, they interrupted my transaction to ask if I KNEW the person,
but followed through.
THIS time, they asked, but said I would
have to come TO one of their offices for the priviledge of GIVING them money!
If this person is on their "black list" why not say so. He's my uncle! I certainly
will not be driving to their facility for the same cost, in order for them to grill me like a common criminal just so I can give THEM money!
I've read your story and I have to say that exactly the same happened to me, just that i had sent money from France to Spain to my sister. What I wanted to ask you, is if you coud give me the address of WU's head office in France. I already searched everywhere and it seems that they don't even exist here. I would be very pleased if you could do that. Thank you very much in advance
if you got scammed and send money to somebody you don't know I'm sorry but is your fault. don't blame Western Union. if you sent money to somebody you know and somebody else picked it up is WU fault. and it works like that: they hack in the WU system and get an WU operator ID and Password; with that they can see almost every transfer, with all the data; then they give all the information to one of their pals who can pick up the money with a fake id just before the real receiver can do it. i hope this info will help you.
Where WEstern union get iformation about me, like as credit reports?
They get full information. Anyone can give me a links to that sites ?
I had a WesternUnion.com account that I used a couple of times at least two years ago. I honestly forgot about having the account. I got 3 emails from Western Union the other day saying my profile had been changed. I then received an email wanting me to call them so they could get more information to send a money transfer I requested. I didn't make a request. I called WU and they told me someone had logged into my account and requested to send money from Illinois to New York. I live in Tennessee. After a few hours trying to remember my WU password, I logged into my account. Someone had changed my address to a Illinois address. The name and everything else hadn't been changed. I did a reverse address lookup on 411.com and got a name and phone #. I called WU back and they gave me the name of the person who was to recieve the money in New York but they had no address. WU didn't seem to concerned about what happened. They did cancel the transaction before any money was sent. I filed an internet fraud complaint with the FBI. I didn't lose any money but it may keep someone from losing any.
I was woken up by my credit card company one week ago to the news that a Western Union wire transfer of nearly $1000 had been placed using my credit card.
They had been alerted to the fact that it might be fraud (Wells Fargo is really good at catching those things). When I dealt with Western Union to investigate, they refused to reveal who had used them as a conduit to fraudulently steal this sum of cash from my card. They did reveal that it was done on behalf of the recipient who was in the UK (I am in Simi Valley, CA).
They damn near stood in protection of the thief they way they refused to give his or her name! Western Union is way, way too glib and blasé about their position as a portal for thievery.
First off all, when someone tries to use YOUR credit or debit card thru WU, they use YOUR name. The call or log on the website and claim to be YOU. They don't say, "Hi, I'm Joe. I stole this creditcard number and was wondering if you could help me out by sending this transfer?"
"Portal for thievery"? LOL Internet fraud is out there!! This guy (or gal) got your information from somewhere. THINK!!! Phishing email from your bank? How about buying a last minute Christmas gift from a website wanting your CVV number? Ebay? A virus on your pc? There are literally hundreds of ways.
These people make a living from what they do, and they are damn good at it.
Wu not to blame, BRAVO!!! I agree 100 percent.
I tried to do a money transfer from Iowa to Florida. The $908 was taken from my account by Western Union then it just happened to disapear! I didn't know that they were magicians. I believe that their name should be changed to
"We'll Rob you Blind"
Money Transfers are for send someone money or receiving money. But people get scamed using it to buy things. Thats the problem, they are acting stupid.
I want you to know that most these scammer are not to be blame but those us citizen who need more than what they have give those thiefs chance to scam
Western Union has quite a scam going themselves. Try getting them to trace a transfer and tell you who it was paid to and what ID they used to get the money. They won't and just try to tell you that you got ripped off.
I've contacted an attorney because WU refuses to tell me what ID was presented for a payment so I can prove it was paid and can file an action.
I don't care if I get my money from WU or the person it was sent to. WU just says it was paid.
I'm not sure who the crook is now buyt I suspect both.
WU not 2 blame, you are full of crap. Yes they are to blame if they refuse to tell you when they paid the money and what ID was presented to recieve it.
I've had it with their BS and will have them served with a subpoena by the end of the week. They can tell a Judge why they have this policy.
In the last 5 months I have been using Western Union to send money to a friend in Russia. On Dec. 20, 2006 I sent her $250. But her usual WU location refused to give her the money. WU said, "well, try another location." She went to another location and it was the same: no dough. I've spoken to WU and they are always condescending, implying the everything is right by them, so either I or my friend must be a little stupid. The amount lost in this transaction is a total of $290. And I guess they don't care if I use them again. They'll just move on to the next person they can rip off. Thanks for hearing me out.
NEVER send money by WU --- they are just a bull**** scam company and dont care as long as they make their money
I just lost 1600 dollars from them even though
1) the reciever filled in the WRONG name of the sender
2) they filled in the WRONG amount to recieve
3) they didnt even say WHERE the sender sent the money from
4) the paying shop accepted some ID with only a 6 digit number code ---
Amazingly --- western union told us by phone that the ID was a PASSPORT
and when I told them that no country has a 6 digit number passport as it only gives 1 million possible passport combinations for the entire country, they just said
" look .. as far as we are concerned with all of the comments you have made about the transfer, we are happy that we paid out the money to the correct individual, and thats the end of the matter as far as we are concerned .. goodbye "
you cant have much more wrong about a fraudulent recieving transfer than the case above, and yet the WU location still pays out risk free from indemnity cause they are protected by the corporate WU , and the location also makes their cut from the payout, so they dont care either whats right or wrong about the documents you present to recieve money !!!!!!!
I have to say that WU are a class act - I cannot for the life of me understand why they are so skilled at protecting the fraudster. I have spent hours on the phone today talking to very polite and concerned customer service and compliance staff in Azerbaijan, Costa Rica, Ireland, Kyrgyzstan and Yemen! All to answer: where was the money collected, at what time and using what ID? I have heard everything from data protection act to confidentiality - I paid WU to deliver a small amount of money from Bishkek to Baku, but they are unable to tell me at which office the "receiver" collected it - they have said: "it was paid in error", "we have no information", "you need to go back to the country you sent it from", "only the police can request that information" and I have had any number of "laws" referred to, but on quizzing the person they have admitted they don't know what these laws are and in what jurisdiction. I have faxed copies of the documents and my passport to 3 countries, and I actually know less than when I started - I say this in all sincerity as customer service in Kerry was able to tell me the time the money was "picked up" before, but now they say that they "would never have access to that information". The amount of money was not that large, but the scale of WU ineptitude is phenominal and the sad part is that I spoke to very friendly people who seemed to genuinely want to help, but hadn't the resource or network to do so. If I were a crook I would target WU - they are completely hapless and must be top of the list in the Scammer's Handbook. I guess I am the real clown for using their service knowing their reputation - shame on me!
We are victims of credit card fraud because of Western Union's lackadaisical system of deterring fraud through their online money transfers. If they would enact further protection, such as requiring a security code, this procedure could lessen the amount of abuse occuring to honest people.
I have also been put on a "black list".
They refuse online or by phone transactions. I asked to talk to a supervisor and was pretty much told that,
"western union has the right to decline service, and that my transactions can only be made through cash at locations". I told them that only a 2 months ago I had used the same card and sent the money to same person online, and wanted to know what had changed. The agent kept telling me that she already told me the reason, and the reason was "western union has the right to decline service, and that my transactions can only be made through cash at locations. " We went through this circular argument, and I still have no idea as to why I can no longer send money by phone. At this point I could care less about their service, but I am angry because they won't even tell me why. Is anyone with similar experience knows why they do this, and is their a recourse for me to find out their reasons?
My husband and I were recently the victims of fraud committed through WU. Thankfully, it was our bank who called us and let us know what had happened. Someone (during a three-day holiday weekend) had made a wire transfer using my husband's debit card number (neither knowing the security code, nor apparently being asked for it by WU). I suspect this individual had lifted the number from a phone order we had placed for a pizza.
While the money which was fraudulently taken from our account was restored by our bank, they also froze it for several days and my husband has had to wait for three weeks to get a new debit card from our bank.
I really do feel that WU IS complicit in these frauds, as countless have occurred and they do nothing to stop it. I think they should be held liable for this activity, both civilly and criminally.
i got ripped off on ebay, being told i was the second in line for an auction, but i had to send funds via western union. i have a secure connection, so am convinced that this is ebay's problem, and that they should pay for such fraud damage. if anyone has experience the same, please let me know.
I attempted to send money using the telephone transfer on sunday as my brother really urgently needed the money. after answering a barrage of questions to western union 30 mins later tey said they were denying the transfer and instructed me to go to the bank withdraw the money and directly send if from a location. I went to the bank and could not get the money as western union had put a hold on it . On monday I went again to my bank and the money was still not available, all this time my brother kept calling me desperate for the money. I immediately called western union 3 times finally getting a supervisor who was no use to me and said they would fax the coorporate office a release letter and will forward to my bank in 15 minutes .Today is tuesday my brother is still calling desperate to get the money and western union is still giving me the 15 minute speech .I anm very familiar with debit card holds and all they need to do is fax my bank who will release the funds but the 1800 western union says they do not have a telephone # to follow up with the co-orporate office about the release letter.I have tried calling the co-orporate # advertised on line to no success this leads back to the 1800 # . with all of this I am a gold card holder for western union and have being a customer for over 10 years.
i am renting a flat in london and i have a good offer for a nice flat... the owner is not in london and ask me for doing something to garantee the serious action from me to rent the flat....
i will copy and past what he asked me to do and please anyone send me the comment through my email to do that or there is any possibility to use these to take my money , my email is
here is the action he want me to do:-
"i will advice that you proceed in making the payment via western union to any of your friend name or relative in london so once you get through with the transfer you will ahve to send to me the transfer receipt that will indicate that you have make the payment to the person for real so that will give me the guarantee that you are up to the task of renting the room and once i get the receipt and be able to veriify from western union if the transfer is avaliable for pickup by the person you sent it to i will make it down to london so that we can handle the viewing and once you view the room and love it the you can ask the person that you send the money to have the transfer cashed so that you can make payment to me via cash"
any advice???? please asap
I did have a Western Union account. I used it ONCE six months ago to send money to my sister. It was a pain in the neck, I had to call them and spent about 40 minutes on the phone verifying all the addresses I've lived at for the past 20 years before they would authorize the transaction. And yet, someone unknown to me was apparently able to access my account and transfer and pick up money with no problem at all. I discovered it when I logged into my e-mail and had about twelve e-mails from Western Union. The first three said my profile had changed. The next two were transfer confirmations, then three more profile changes and then two pick up notifications and then FINALLY a transaction declined notice. I'm sorry, but if someone logs into an account and changes the profile three times in twenty minutes, that should be a red flag that something funny is going on and no transfers should be authorized. I think someone hacked into the Western Union system and then kept changing the information until they got a configuration that would allow them to send money without having to call in. After calling Western Union and navigating their very non- user friendly menu, the clerk said that seven attempts had been made and two were successful. She wouldn't give me any information about where the transactions originated, but I suspect it was in Europe because the pick-up notifications said the payout was in local currency and gave an Euro exchange rate. It's ok to transfer my money willy nilly, but God forbid they should give me any information about it. Then, she tells me I won't ever be able to use Western Union online or over the telephone to transfer money ever again. I doubt I would ever WANT to, but doesn't that seem like I am being unfairly penalised for THEIR poor security practices? Luckily, I saw these e-mails within 12 hours of the activity and my credit card had not been charged yet, so I was able to let my card company know that these were fraudulent transactions and not to approve them and to close my credit card. Next time I'll just go through my back to wire money. I KNOW they have good security. I just wish I had known that Western Union didn't. I thought they were a reputable company.
I have used Western Union in the past to send money to my son and my daughter. Never had a problem and it was easy. Tried to send money again to my son, his name and location on file, and have been unable to do so. Web site keeps hanging up on this new thing they have about checking your credit report. Attempted to email them and cannot detail problem, keep getting an error message about using only english language and certain allowed symbols. Believe me, I only speak English and use basic punctuation. So after trying for two days, unsuccessfully, I called the 1-800 number. Got some woman who could barely speak English who didn't have any idea what I was talking about. Said she was in Dallas....and would connect me to the web site person. That person told me she didn't know what was on the website and she would connect me to the website person. I told her, "I thought you were the website person" and she said I am,but I don't know what is on it so I need to connect you to the other web site person, and I told her to forget it, that I thought their site had been compromised and I would find another way to send money to my son. Just a thought here......Wallyworld has started some kind of money transfer thing and I am wondering if this is related. Haven't had any luck finding recent news or messages about others having this kind of problem. What I do know is I cannot easily send much needed funds to my son. Does anyone have any idea what is going on here?
I recently sent $1,000 via WU to my boyfriend in florida. I sent it out on a friday he went to pick it up the following thursday and was told that there was no match to either of our names in the computer he then called me and got the MTCN and gave it to the WU person and was then told that the money was already picked up the tuesday before. We have had nothing but BS stories and excuses from all the WU representitives that we have talked to. It has just been a huge headache trying to get our money back and we are still trying. We are going to call WU 1 more time and inform them that we are both going to alert the media and get our story out in the open and make our story heard unless they return our money to us. I just cant believe how incompitant thier employees are and how little they can tell the person that Sent the damn money...I mean my god!!! Its MY damn money why the hell cant I know Who, Where, and How it was picked up???
Thank you for this web site! Western Unio still does business outdated way! I screemed when I talked to a Wu lady when I told her, please let your office in china be aware that I have been scammed of $734, and I requested that she she ask WU representatve in china to contact the police , not for a police report butmaybe the police just let that scammer that they are aware of his scamming, and maybe, he sends my goods! she said no! and kept explaing what WU is!. Even the secret question did not go through, and I sent the money without the secret question! I call on a good lawer to take all those victims frustration, and loss, and sue WU. maybe this is the only way to get WU attention! sorry for my englis!
Okay! today I had an awful experience with the WU. I tried to send $999.99 using online service. At the end of the transaction, I was told to call the number to finalize the transaction. So, I did. First call didn't go successfully due to the bad phone reception. I called the second time, and they told me that transaction was cancelled with NO REASON given. They suggested me to physically visit WU branch to send the money. So, I did immediately that day. Everything was going fine until the my debit card disapproved the transaction. By that time, I was very curious of what was going on. So, I called my bank to find out what was going on. There, I found out that the first transaction (online) actually went through, and $999.99 was deducted from my account. And the second transaction at the WU branch didn't go through because there was a block put on my account due to the fraud suspicion caused by the first transaction made online. Angrily, I called back at the WU to tell them that the amount was already deducted. On that call, they told me that the reason transaction was cancelled was because information I provided did not meet CERTAIN REQUIREMENTS of the WU policy (suddenly they come up with that reason of cancellation, which they didn't have on my previous call). So, I told them that I want my money back. One thing I did not understand was how come they charged me when the transaction was never finalized and was cancelled. I explained but the supervisor explains to me all kinds of policy bullshit trying to confuse me. They actually told me that its their policy that in such case it takes 3-5 business days to return my money. So, now I will have to wait for 5 business at most. If they don't return my money within the promised date, I am gonna go bananas on WU.
So, beware of WU! There are a lot of people unhappy about WU services.
the same story of ron !! except few details.
I tried to transfer money (my first time) through Western Union online service, what happened is:
I gave my personal details.
I gave the receivers details.
I gave my card details.
I confirmed the transaction through Verified by Visa.
all I got was this:
the transfer was declined please call us.
so I called them and they asked again for my details, in the end the guy put me in hold and after 1 minute he told me that the transfer was declined because of security reasons and that I wont be credited for that and he adviced me to try to go with cash to their office branch physically, but I did not.
I suspected that something went wrong so I checked my bank balance online and I found out that I was credited for the amount I want to send, so I contacted Western Union again to tell them that the money was deducted from my bank although it was declined by them (WU) so they explained that the money was frozen and it takes 7 working days to clear, I asked where it is in hold ? they said in my bank !!
so I called my bank and they told me that the money actually was drawn to WU and if WU denies that they would investigate about that.
so I called WU again and I told them that my bank confirmed that the money went to WU, the WU guy said that the money is frozen, so I again asked him how is it frozen and where ??? he said that it takes 7 working days.
The point is, why don't Western Union tell the truth and say, YES we hold your money because of security reasons and it will be returned back to you within 7 working days.
I am curious if the money will get back or I was a victim of online fraud.
I guess the bottom line is : don't use western union online services because its not reliable and locks down money before investigating if its doable to make the transaction.
I just hope things go right.
i have been a victim of scammers and lost 3000 pound.what i dont know is where 2 report the names of these receipients of my money,so no1 else falls for this people and their stories.i dont blame western union for my naivity 2 trust someone i thought was genuine.
I have been a victim of scammers for 3500 pound.I lost everything I owned.I dont blame western union for my naivity 2 trust in people i thought where genuine.what i dont know is where 2 report the names of these people so no one else falls for them and their stories.
Western Union should really scan a copy of the persons Photo ID and keep with them for their records. In such a case the cops can at-least reach the scammers.
I just used WU to transfer $400to my good friend in Abidjan. When he showed up at the WU office less than 48 hrs later, the money had already been picked up by someone else . It is so unfair and I have been dealing with WU over the phone and the internet and basically even though this just happened I can feel this is not being taken seriously, hence why I got online to see if there is a class action against WU. I would join in because there is something profoundly wrong here and it has to be stopped...
I have lost £800 when trying to send money to my wife... The money was taken by someone else 2 hours after I sent the money. No one at western union will help whatsoever... I have now set up a website.
To help people in the same situation
Please feel free to visit the site for help or to tell us about your problem. it may help others.
I think it's better as a group of people rather than an individual.
MAKE WESTERN UNION PAY! If you want Western Union to pay attention all you have to do is file a complaint in small claims court in your local area. Send a subpoena to their office in St. Louis, MO and you will be contacted by their legal department in Denver, CO. They are extremely disorganized and will attempt to ask you for more time. Give them some time and they forget and never go to the hearing. When you receive your subpoena materials, unredacted money receivers form with the ID information of the receiver you can contact the police also. Remember, the basis of your complaint is that the person you sent the money to never received it! In the end, they will not show up and if they do they have to spend time and money on defense. If it is under $2000 they may not even bother...
Yeah Well I'm another one who should have seen this coming.
Of course I had to be hit by the Kings of fraud. THE F"ING NIGERIANS. (anger speaking)
Bottom line folks nothing comes easy, I thought I could get a deal on the IPHONE for Christmas, I was going give to my brother who asked me and wanted one badly and I the stupid one fell for it.
email@example.com (scammers) who took my money!!!
Mostly when you go to a WU office they will scan your passports/ ID card. What happens to the scanned copies afterwards? Does anybody know? Do they stay in the system, and if yes, can they be used for idenity theft?
WU becomes more responsible the more thy knowingly let it go on. and not do any thing about it one way or the other. And i consider myself an honest person.
I just got one of the E-mails from
"W U Cyprus Head Office"
For ( $250,000.00 USD ) Some one do the math how much does WU make from that one. Man i could use that kind of money. lol. Thx for letting me vent.
I have sent many a money order by Western Union, but lately the orders have been rejected and Western Union people tell me it's me that is the problem
and not to use them anymore. Has anyone else had this to happen?
I have sent many a money order by Western Union, but lately the orders have been rejected and Western Union people tell me it's me that is the problem
and not to use them anymore. Has anyone else had this to happen?
I have a story with Western Union in London. I try to summarize shortly.
My friend was a sender and me the receivers. Someone picked up the money. The problem is the police can’t do anything against them because they don’t have CC TV. As they sad. The Western Union doesn’t want to answer ours letter. The last time was the third letter but still not unswerving. They not wiling to do anything. Even they can’t tell us where exactly the money has been picked up.
How can the people pick up the money without passport? Why didn’t get answer where has been collected the money? I have send my money that is why I have right to get information where exactly happened.
I have a story with Western Union Company. I try to summarise shortly.
My friend was a sender and me the receivers. Someone picked up the money. The problem is the police can’t do anything against them because they don’t have CC TV. As they sad. The Western Union doesn’t want to answer ours letter. The last time was the third letter but still not unswerving. They not wiling to do anything. Even they can’t tell us where exactly the money has been picked up.
How can the people pick up the money without passport? Why didn’t get answer where has been collected the money? I have send my money that is why I have right to get information where exactly happened.
Has any scammer who intercepted and picked up other people Western Union money ever got caught? I don't think so. If someone wanna be a millionaire,intercept and pick up other people Western Union money would be higher percentage than buying a lottery.
Western Union is not allowed to give you the name/address of the location the money was picked up at or the receiver's ID or address information due to the privacy act, however if you have a fraud report on file with WU's fraud department, then we can supply that information to the police upon receipt of a subpoena. If we gave out YOUR address or ID information, you'd be screaming bloody murder, so you can't be mad when the shoe's on the other foot. We do everything possible to prevent our customers from being defrauded, but they won't listen. They lie to us and insist they know the receiver personally.. it's their "cousin" or whatnot...... then after they get ripped off by the crook, they call US and demand their money back. HELLOOOO!!! If you put cash in an envelope and sent it to a crook thru the post office, and then didn't receive your product, would you go to the post office and want them to pay for your stupidity just because they were the ones who delivered your money to the person you addressed it to? Get real, people. Stop blaming Western Union and accept responsibility for your own stupid actions.
i send money to nigeria by western union the address 55 okulaja street ajegunle logaos i want to how can they recieve money without MTCN number and test question and answer and the western union here in thailand said i can't cancle and i told why becuase they don't have the above information to me that is wrong by western union cause you have to have to MTCN number before they can issue the money now you tell me why i can't cancle this transation.
WU is not complicit? OF COURSE THEY ARE! Here's the evidence for your blog!!!: I sent a $500 money transfer to a friend in Mexico on 03/08/08 through Western Union's website. The transfer was approved by a Western Union rep via telephone and the funds were made immediately available. 4 hours later I instructed my friend to go pick up the funds. The individual went to a WU location in Nogales, Sonora Mexico and they told him the funds had already been paid out. I called WU and advised them of the problem, and they stated that the money had already been picked up. I relayed to the rep that the money transfer control number (MTCN) was never given to the reciever, my friend. They rep said that the MTCN was not needed to pick up money in Mexico, and that it had already been paid out to someone who had identified himself as my friend. WU said I would have to file a claim to get the money back. I filed a claim and on 03/13/08 I spoke to a WU fraud dept. rep who researched the claim and (mistakenly I think) informed me that the person to whom the funds were paid never presented a photo ID, did not have the MTCN or sender's information (my name), and was listed on the US Government's watch list, but for some reason the money was paid out to him anyway. On 03/21/08 I was sent a letter stating that the transaction was paid out correctly and I would not be recieving a refund. Since that time I have had multiple conversations (03/21, 4/07, 4/25, 05/2) the WU Int'l department, who has continually stated that they requested a manager to investigate the claim, but that they keep denying the claim. At this point it appears that WU is conspiring to cover up evidence of collusion and corruption involving the agent located in Nogales Sonora, as well as possible violations of US Federal law concerning individuals on the Gov't. watch list. It is appears that WU's internal policies and procedures were not followed either and they have neglected to advise or warn customers that they do not utilize the MTCN as a security measure when paying out in Mexico, leading US consumer to believe they are protected and giving them a false sense of security related to this procedure. WU reps had every opportunity both on their website and during the telephone conversation confirmation call to warn me of their lack of security concerning MTCNs' when paying out in Mexico, BUT DID NOT DO SO. They paid out MY MONEY to the WRONG person (or the agent pocketed it or split it with the thief) and the REFUSE to take responsibility for it!?$#@^%$# It was classifies by them as "PAID OUT CORRECTLY"!! Not only did I not get a refund, but now my only recourse is to file a report with the Mexican authorities, or "federales". I'm sure they'll get right on it. Western Union SCAMS and DEFRAUDS U.S. customers, profits from it, and blatantly misrepresents the security concerning their service.
Here’s my experience with Western Union:
I'd sent money to a recipient in Russia via Western Union. I’d sent money to Russia via Western Union before, to different recipient, without a problem.
Western Union phoned me 5 (yes FIVE) days later to inform me they could not deliver the money.
The reason they gave was that my recipient has a 'suspicious' name.
The reason they gave for the five day delay was that they had to ‘conduct an investigation' in the words of their extremely rude employees.
They also said I had to provide an address for the recipient.
There was no space for recipients address on the form I had to fill out when I sent the money originally. The agent that took the money to be sent, including a substantial Western Union fee never asked me for an address, or informed me that such a problem might arise.
What irked me most was firstly the FIVE DAY delay (yes, FIVE DAYS for something billed as an 'instant' service to tell you they decided not to put it through, but to run an 'investigation' instead) and secondly how their agents who phoned me and the supervisor I managed to talk to made it out to be normal and somehow MY fault for not providing the address. I repeat, there is no space for recipients address on 'send money' form, nor was I informed by the agent that such information even MIGHT be necessary. I would have happily provided the address.
As for a suspicious name, my recipient has one of the most common names in Russia, not that it should be in any way relevant.
So it seems the whole Western Union company is a scam. Beware
Now a little girls birthday has passed, I am embarrassed to the nth degree, all because Western Union decided it was somehow their function to hold MY MONEY for FIVE DAYS and to ‘run an investigation’ (in the words of their extremely rude employees) instead of either sending my money ‘in minutes’ as promised in their advertisements or at least phoning me the next day, maybe two days after to tell me they had a problem with providing the service they already CHARGED THEIR FEE FOR.
I am sorry for the ones who say it is the sender's fault, my friend fall for a Western Union scam like the one described by dr.mohammed.
It was a woman saying she was from the US and even send a copy of her passport and saying she was in Berlin for a few dyas for work, (we are in London)
She asked him to send the deposit for a flat through Western Union to a relative and send her a copy to her email address, so she could make sure he is a 'serious' person.
After the money had been sent, he tried to contact her (they used IM before) and she never appeared again!
So, we are not all greedy stupid people, this can happen to anyone.
He called Western Union and they won't give any details, but they said he should write a letter, but there was zero chance of him recovering his money. They wanted the letter for a record only.
I am sorry if I misspelled a word, English is not my first language and is not my friend first language too, we are from a so called 'Third World Country' and we have never been robbed over there.
So much for security, they should try a password, or something, that could work for people who like my friend send money to a relative or friend and the money was picked-up by somebody else.
The woman posted an ad on the www.uk.easyroomate.com saying that her name was Kathleen McHugh US citizen, 27 years old, and living in 23 Fulham Road, London SW10 9NH
I'm so sorry I havent find out about this page earlier on. Does anybody have a good story about WU?
What just happened to me is pretty much the same as marias story. I have paid a deposit of 500 euros to somebody I havent seen.Ok, its my fault.
Then she wanted me to provide a proof that I would be able to pay the rent in the future, etc, so we have agreed that I'm going to send money to my friend (just fill out a form to my friends name) then she will have a look at it and if its OK I can cash the money...I even rang WU office if they are really requering ID, etc. When I went to the post office and paid this second instalment of 1100 euros, the lady has asked me an ID and filled out a form, put on my ID number, etc. I thought it was the normal way and this is how it should happen when somebody wants to pick up the money. So I put my friends name on it, and this girl or man was able to pick the money somehow.
It was not the first time, she keep sending out her fake passport as a proof since May, and I still cant beleive how the police didn't do anything.
Do you think I wont be able to get back at least the second istalment??
I sent money thru Western Union on 6/08 to my niece who was in London for $1200 and when she went to a Western Union Office she was told that the money has been withdrawn. I never realized that this could happen. When somebody sends me money thru Western Union, I am asked Photo Id's, Driver's License, Credit Cards to identify myself. So how can one withdraw my money without this identifications.
After a month of their investigation, they send me a letter saying that the money transfer was paid correctly.
So, pls. do not ever send money thru Western Union. You might not see your money again.
I like these kind of stories, it's just simple incredible. I was not aware of it until now how easily they can pick up your money. They are not warning their costumers!!
My story is quite recent, and I don't see garda will do anything, I'm really thinking about to sue WU. But I don't know what are my chances, and honestly I don't know I could afford the fees and everything.
I would really like to meet people & do something together, cause it's just keep happening over and over again!!!
Can I ask you if they have ever told you who picked up your money and what ID did he/she provided????
recently i got an email from some bank in Benin that they have sent me through western union,a sum of 7000usd as first instalment out of 1.25 million usd and that they will send me this twice a week.They also sent me the no,name and i tracked it on western union web site to find that the money was there to be collected.the only thing i was asked to do is after collecting money i have to send 350usd as fees.Could this be a fraud.can some one comment.
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