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.