Money heading back to people tricked by scammers

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Protecting San Diegan’s from scammers. More than half a billion dollars is heading back to people who were tricked into wiring money to scammers using Western Union.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, if you sent money using Western Union between January 1, 2004, and January 19, 2017, and lost it to a scammer, you might be eligible for a refund.

The FTC says the Department of Justice will run the refunds process but it hasn’t’ started yet. They say Western Union still has more time to pay off all of the $586 million.

According to an FTC press release as part of the settlement agreement, Western Union has to admit to criminal violations including failing to maintain an effective anti-money laundering program and aiding and abetting wire fraud.

Team 10 asked an expert if other companies might take notice and look at their protection for consumers.

"Having something go rapidly also comes with risk,” said San Diego State business ethics lecturer Wendy Patrick. “Part of what's going to happen now, now that this deferred prosecution has been entered into, is they're going to have to revamp the safety standards. All of their competitors no doubt are looking at theirs too to make sure they're not tomorrow's headline.”

The FTC offered the following tips for people who may be involved: If you still have it, keep your paperwork, including money transfer receipts and materials relating to the scam, in case you need it to file your claim.

Don’t pay anyone who promises to get you a Western Union refund in return for money.

Neither the FTC nor DOJ will ever do that.

Check out the FTC’s or DOJ’s Frequently Asked Questions to learn more.

Sign up for email updates about Western Union refunds.

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