Rutledge, Western Union Reach Settlement Regarding Wire Transfers Defrauding Consumers
January 31, 2017
More than $53,000 being returned to Arkansas
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has reached a multistate settlement agreement with the Colorado-based Western Union Co. to resolve an investigation that focused on complaints of consumers who used Western Union’s wire transfer service to send money to third parties involved in schemes to defraud consumers.
“Scam artists continue to find new ways to convince unsuspecting consumers to wire them money using services like Western Union,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “While my office continues to educate Arkansans about the dangers of wiring money to someone you don’t know, companies like Western Union should have protections in place to help consumers spot these types of scams. Wire transfers cannot be tracked to be returned to the original sender if it is found to be a scam.”
The settlement requires Western Union to develop and put into action a comprehensive anti-fraud program designed to help detect and prevent incidents where consumers who have been the victims of fraud use Western Union to wire money to scam artists.
That anti-fraud program, which Western Union has agreed to evaluate and update as warranted, includes the following elements:
- Anti-fraud warnings on send forms that consumers use to wire money
- Mandatory and appropriate training and education for Western Union’s agents about fraud-induced wire transfers
- Heightened anti-fraud procedures when warranted by circumstances, such as increased fraud complaints
- Due diligence checks on Western Union agents who process money transfers
- Monitoring of Western Union agent activity related to prevention for fraud-induced money transfers
- Prompt and appropriate disciplinary action against Western Union agents who fail to follow required protocols concerns anti-fraud measures.
Western Union has agreed to pay a total of $5 million to the 49 states and the District of Columbia for costs and fees. Arkansas is slated to receive more than $53,000. Western Union also settled claims related to fraud-induced transfers with the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice that was announced earlier this month. As part of those related settlements, Western Union has agreed to pay $586 million to a fund that the Department of Justice will administer to provide restitution to victims of fraud induced wire transfers nationwide, including Arkansans.