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N4T Investigators: Western Union restitution - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

N4T Investigators: Western Union restitution

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Phoenix - If you have been a victim of wire fraud involving Western Union, you may be getting a refund.

That's the word from Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, who announced a settlement with Western Union designed to protect consumers from wire fraud scams. Under the settlement, Brnovich says Western Union will pay $586 million to victims of fraudulent wire transfers nationwide, and that about 10,000 Arizona residents may be eligible for a total of over $11,560,000 in refunds.

Under the multi-state settlement, Brnovich said Western Union is required to develop an anti-fraud program. Brnovich said, "This settlement requires Western Union to do its part to stop a wire transfer before a vulnerable senior is scammed out of their life savings. Anti-fraud banking programs will help protect seniors from criminals who continue to find new and innovative ways to steal from them."

For more information on the settlement and the restitution, go to the Department of Justice web site, https://www.justice.gov/criminal-mlars/remission. If you believe you have been a victim of wire transfer or consumer fraud, you can file a complaint by contacting the Attorney General's office in Tucson at 520-628-6648 or file a complaint online by visiting the A.G.'s web site at https://www.azag.gov/complaints/consumer.

Western Union sent us the following news release:

    "The Western Union Company provided the statement below in response to the announcement of a coordinated settlement reached with U.S. state attorneys general of 49 states plus the District of Columbia. The settlement resolves a previously disclosed investigation by certain state attorneys general that focused primarily on the Company’s oversight of certain agents, and whether the Company’s anti-fraud program adequately prevented misconduct by those agents and third parties, mainly during the 2004 to 2012 period.
The settlement, which has been filed in different forms in different states, includes a payment of $5 million to cover investigative, enforcement and other costs, along with compliance enhancements that largely track with the terms of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) consent order announced on January 19th.
The Company said: “We share the goals of the attorneys general and are committed to protecting consumers and the integrity of our global money transfer network from abuse by bad actors. That’s why we have significantly enhanced our compliance program in recent years by adding more employees with law enforcement and regulatory expertise, strengthening our consumer education and agent training, bolstering our technology-driven controls and having our Chief Compliance Officer report directly to the Compliance Committee of the Board of Directors.
“Over the past five years, we have increased overall compliance funding by more than 200 percent and now spend approximately $200 million per year on compliance, with more than 20 percent of our workforce dedicated to compliance functions. The incidence of consumer fraud reports associated with Western Union money transfers has been extremely low – less than one-tenth of 1 percent of all consumer-to-consumer money transfer transactions during the past 10 years. Over the last five years, the dollar value of reported fraud in consumer-to-consumer transactions, compared with the total value of all such transactions, has dropped more than 60 percent.”
Western Union on January 19th announced resolutions with the Department of Justice (DOJ), FTC and Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which included a payment of $586 million for reimbursement of fraud victims and a commitment to certain compliance enhancements."

If you live in southern Arizona and have any story you would like us to investigate, email us at investigators@kvoa.com or call our tip line at 520-955-4444.

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