For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Scott Graf
(208) 334-4112

Date: January 31, 2017

Wasden Announces Settlement with Western Union

(Boise) - Attorney General Lawrence Wasden today announced a multistate settlement with Western Union concerning wire transfers that defrauded consumers. The settlement stipulates that Western Union must improve its anti-fraud business practices.

The settlement also requires Western Union to pay $5 million to states to reimburse them for a multistate investigation. Idaho will receive nearly $47,000.

“The grandparent scam, romance scams and the IRS scam are particularly active in Idaho right now,” Wasden said. “As part of this type of scam, the predator often asks for payment by wire transfer because it’s fast, anonymous, and impossible for the consumer to recover. This settlement will help ensure Western Union institutes changes to help prevent scammers from preying on Idahoans.”

During the investigation, Western Union reported it had received more than 2,000 complaints from Idahoans about fraud-induced wire transfers between 2004 and 2015. The complaints allege victims lost a total of $2.4 million.

The settlement also requires Western Union to implement an anti-fraud program to help detect and prevent fraud victims from using Western Union to wire money to scammers. Western Union has also agreed to:

  • include anti-fraud warnings on money wiring forms;
  • provide its agents with training about fraud-induced wire transfers;
  • improve its anti-fraud procedures when necessary;
  • perform checks on agents who process money transfers;
  • monitor its agents’ actions in preventing fraud-induced money transfers;
  • and discipline agents who fail to follow required anti-fraud protocols.

Along with Idaho, 48 other states and the District of Columbia participated in the settlement.

The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice resolved similar issues with Western Union on January 19. The federal settlement includes a $586 million restitution fund. Consumers can check with the DOJ or the FTC websites for details.

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