Western Union implements strict security measures on transactions
sent to and from Jamaica to protect consumers
ENGLEWOOD, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--
The lottery scam involves scammers contacting people and telling them
they’ve won money or prizes in a sweepstakes or lottery but need to send
money to pay for processing fees or taxes to receive their winnings.
Fraudsters then use money transfer companies to steal this money.
Many people fall victim to this scam: According to the Federal Trade
Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network database, prizes, sweepstakes,
and lotteries made up the third highest consumer fraud complaint
category in 2011.
Western Union monitors transactions coming in and out of the company’s
systems looking for those that might be fraudulent. The company also
trains agents and empowers them to ask questions and refuse transactions
when they think scammers are involved.
“We go to great lengths to help protect consumers and our business from
con artists who take advantage of good people and good services like
ours,” said Shelley Bernhardt, Director of Consumer Protection at
For example, in St. James, Jamaica, Western Union recently closed more
than 10 agent locations to conduct thorough systems reviews and have
implemented tighter control measures on money transfers sent to and from
this area, including setting a stricter transaction limit.
The company has restored service to most of the locations in St. James,
Jamaica and is working on reopening the rest in the coming weeks.
Continued Bernhardt, “As a leader in global payment services, Western
Union is dedicated to providing consumers fast, reliable and convenient
money transfer services around the world. Our reputation, our brand, and
the trust of consumers and our stakeholders are irreplaceable assets.
Our future success depends on ensuring that we continue to protect
consumers and our global network, which is why we have a number of
programs that proactively help do just this.”
One such effort is educating consumers. After all, they’re the first,
last, and best line of defense against scammers.
To help people from getting scammed, here are some tips to avoid the
Never send money to people or organizations you don’t know; only send
money to people you have met personally and trust.
Never send money to pay for taxes or fees on lottery or prize
winnings. Legitimate sweepstakes don’t require you to pay or buy
something to enter or improve your chances of winning; or to pay taxes
or processing fees to get your prize.
Don’t play the foreign lottery. It’s illegal.
Read the fine print—legitimate offers clearly disclose the terms and
conditions of the promotion, including the rules, how the entry
process works, and your odds of winning.
Never provide your banking information to unknown individuals or
Never withdraw or send funds from a check you deposited into your
account until it officially clears, which can take weeks.
Be alert. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Do your research. Check out the company that contacted you with a
consumer protection agency like the Better Business Bureau, the
Federal Trade Commission, local law enforcement, or other trusted
If you sent a Western Union Money Transfer® and believe you
may be a victim of fraud, call our Fraud Hotline number at (800)
Information on scams and how to protect yourself is available on our
online Consumer Protection Center: http://www.westernunion.com/stopfraud.
Additional information on money wiring scams is available from the
Federal Trade Commission at: www.ftc.gov
> Consumer Protection > Money Matters > Scam Watch > Money Wiring Scams.
About Western Union
The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment
services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western
Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union
provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient
ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to
purchase money orders. As of June 30, 2012, the Western Union, Vigo and
Orlandi Valuta branded services were offered through a combined network
of approximately 510,000 agent locations in 200 countries and
territories. In 2011, The Western Union Company completed 226 million
consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $81 billion of
principal between consumers, and 425 million business payments. For more
information, visit www.westernunion.com.
Source: Western Union