January 31, 2017
Carson City, NV – Today, Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt, along with attorneys general representing 48 other states and the District of Columbia, announced a $5 million dollar settlement with The Western Union Company based in Colorado. The settlement resolves a multistate investigation that focused on the complaints of defrauded consumers who used Western Union’s wire transfer service to send money to third parties involved in fraudulent schemes.
“Scam artists are finding new ways to convince consumers to wire them money, including lottery and contest scams, as well as scams that prey on the goodwill and generosity of family members,” said Laxalt. “This settlement establishes improvements to The Western Union Company’s anti-fraud program, so that consumers can safely transfer funds and avoid potential future financial losses.”
The settlement requires Western Union to develop and put into action 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. That anti-fraud program, which Western Union has agreed to evaluate and update as warranted, includes the following elements:
- Anti-fraud warnings on forms that consumers use to wire money;
- Mandatory and appropriate training and education for Western Union’s agents about fraud-induced wire transfers;
- Heightened anti-fraud procedures when warranted by circumstances such as increased fraud complaints;
- Due diligence checks on Western Union agents who process money transfers;
- Monitoring of Western Union agent activity related to the prevention of fraudinduced money transfers; and
- Prompt and appropriate disciplinary action against Western Union agents who fail to follow required protocols concerning anti-fraud measures.
Western Union also has agreed to pay a total of $5 million to the states for the states’ costs and fees. In addition to this settlement with the states, Western Union also settled claims related to fraud-induced transfers with the Federal Trade Commission and U.S. Department of Justice that was announced on January 19, 2017. As a part of those related settlements, Western Union has agreed to pay $586M to a fund that the Department of Justice will administer to provide refunds to victims of fraud induced wire transfers nationwide. As a result of the number of Nevadans affected by this settlement, Nevada will receive $52,706.71.
In addition to Nevada, participants in the settlement include: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming and the District of Columbia.
Chief Deputy Attorney General JoAnn Gibbs of the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection represented Nevada in this settlement. For more information on how to file a claim, visit the Department of Justice’s website.