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SACRAMENTO – Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced today that California has joined a multistate settlement with Western Union, which resolves an investigation that focused on complaints by consumers who used the financial institution’s wire transfer service to inadvertently send money to third parties involved in schemes to defraud consumers.
Western Union has agreed to pay $586 million to provide refunds to victims through a related, but separate, agreement with the Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Department of Justice filed in January. Under the terms of the federal settlement, California consumers who made a wire transfer through Western Union between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017 may be eligible for more than $65 million in refunds.
“There is no excuse for Western Union to expose their customers to fraud,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Hardworking families trusted Western Union's services only to be ripped off. I want to thank Supervising Deputy Attorney General Michael Elisofon and Deputy Attorney General Daniel Osborn who represented California in this multistate settlement and helped to make these families whole.”
Information about refund eligibility and the process for filing a claim is available at www.westernunionremission.com. California consumers who were tricked into wiring money via Western Union are also strongly encouraged to share their experience by submitting a complaint to the California Attorney General’s office at https://oag.ca.gov/consumers/wire-fraud-refunds.
In addition to consumer refunds under the federal settlement, the multistate settlement includes a permanent injunction that requires Western Union to establish an anti-fraud program designed to help detect and prevent scam artists from using the wire transfer services to victimize consumers in the future.
If consumers receive a solicitation from an unknown source, they should be wary of wiring money because it may be a scam.
Attorney General Becerra released a guide for consumers on the different types of scams and advice on how to remain vigilant against wire fraud.
Attorney General Becerra strongly encourages consumers to ignore such scams and report them to the Office’s Public Inquiry Unit by calling (800) 952-5225 or by submitting a complaint at http://oag.ca.gov/contact/consumer-complaint-against-business-or-company
Copies of the complaint and stipulated judgment are attached to the electronic version of this release at oag.ca.gov/news.