This new agreement is connected to a $586 million payout agreement last year with the U.S. government involving allegations that the company did not put enough safeguards in place to protect its customers from being scammed by criminals.
So how did this settlement come to be? Basically, scammers were requesting that people send them money via Western Union—and a lot of people did.
The Federal Trade Commission says Western Union received more than 550,000 complaints from people who had been scammed between January 2004 and August 2015, but Western Union didn’t adequately protect people from fraud and didn’t properly discipline the scammers, according to the FTC.
Now, customers who were scammed can ask for their money back. If you lost money to a scammer who had you pay via Western Union from Jan. 1, 2004 to Jan. 19, 2017, you have until Feb. 12, 2018 to file a claim.
If you have already reported your losses to the FTC or Western Union, you should receive a pre-filled claim form in the mail. If you haven’t reported your losses or filed yet, the easiest way to file your claim is online.
How To Get Your Money
First, go to the FTC’s Western Union refund site, which will guide you through the steps.
You will need to provide your Social Security number, but you do not have to pay any money or provide your bank information to get your piece of the settlement. (If you get an email or anything in the mail saying otherwise, it is another scam, so tell the FTC right away.)
Be sure to have all your information handy, like how much money you sent, when you sent it, to whom and why, if possible.
If you can’t file online, you may do so through the mail, but be aware that it is not as safe, as it means your social security number will be on information being sent through the mail.
If you received a claim form in the mail and want to send it back or just prefer to mail your claim, send it to: United States v. The Western Union Company, P.O. Box 404027, Louisville, KY 40233-4027.
How Much Money Will You Get?
The amount of cash you’ll be entitled to from the settlement all depends on how many people file a claim and how many claims are validated.
And be aware that it could take a year for all claims to be processed.
Other Scams To Watch Out For
Scammers are pretty much everywhere, so be aware of anything that seems like it might not be legit, like this Publishers Clearing House scam that’s currently going around or this scam involving PayPal.