CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office has outlined the claims process for those eligible to receive compensation from a $586 million forfeiture by Western Union Company.
The forfeiture, part of a settlement announced in January, resolved a multistate investigation into consumer usage of the wire transfer service to send money in a wide variety of third-party scams.
About 2,300 West Virginia consumers are eligible for refunds totaling $2.9 million. Many of those consumers could soon receive claim forms in the mail.
“This is a tremendous victory in protecting consumers from fraud,” Morrisey said. “Through the settlement, consumers will be able to reclaim their hard-earned dollars that were unlawfully taken by scammers. I urge those affected to watch their mailboxes and call our office with any questions.”
Any victim of a fraud-induced transfer using Western Union between Jan. 1, 2004, and Jan. 19, 2017, may be eligible to receive compensation.
West Virginians who reported having been such a victim to Western Union or the Attorney General's Office may receive a claim form soon. The settlement administrator will mail forms in the next two weeks. Each form will contain instructions explaining how consumers may file their claim.
Consumers who do not receive a form in the mail, but believe they may have an eligible claim, may visit http://www.westernunionremission.com or call (844) 319-2124for more information on how to file a claim. All completed claims forms must be mailed back to the settlement administrator by Feb. 12, 2018.
Western Union reached the settlement with West Virginia, 49 other states and the District of Columbia. It required the company to develop and implement 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.
Such schemes involve lottery and contest scams, grandparent scams and tax scams, all of which have been the subject of alerts issued by the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.
The anti-fraud program, which Western Union agreed to evaluate and update as warranted, includes placing anti-fraud warnings on forms consumers use to wire money, training and educating Western Union’s agents about fraud-induced wire transfers and performing due diligence checks on Western Union agents who process money transfers.
Consumers who believe they may be affected by the Western Union settlement may also contact the West Virginia Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at (800) 368-8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at(304) 267-0239 or visit the office online at www.wvago.gov.