DES MOINES | Attorney General Tom Miller urged Iowans who lost money to certain types of scams through Western Union wire transfers to apply for refunds through a newly-announced national refund process.

The U.S. Department of Justice announced Tuesday it has begun sending remission forms to a half-million potential victims.

It has launched a website for scam victims to apply for refunds, following a $586 million settlement the Justice Department, along with the Federal Trade Commission, reached with The Western Union Co. in January.

As part of a federal deferred prosecution agreement, Western Union admitted it illegally processed hundreds of thousands of international wire transfers for criminals who posed as family members in need, or promised prizes or job opportunities.

The scammers directed victims to wire money through Western Union. Various Western Union agents were complicit in these fraud schemes, Miller said, often processing the fraud payments in return for a cut of the fraud proceeds.

Consumers eligible for refunds must have sent a Western Union wire transfer to a recipient who committed certain types of frauds between Jan. 1, 2004, and Jan. 19, 2017.

To apply for a refund, eligible consumers should fill out a form at www.westernunionremission.com or call 844-319-2124. The deadline is Feb. 12.

Consumers are not required to have previously filed a complaint with local, state or federal authorities. 

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