Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear announced today that Kentuckians who have been victims of fraud induced wire transfers involving Western Union need to begin filing claims as part of a global settlement reached January with the company.
An estimated 7,000 Kentuckians are eligible for roughly $6.7 million in claims.
Kentuckians who reported to Western Union, the Federal Trade Commission or Beshear’s office that they had been the victim of a scam using Western Union between Jan. 1, 2004, and Jan. 19, 2017, should receive a claim form in the mail.
Beshear said anyone who was the victim of fraud who sent funds to scammers using Western Union is eligible to receive compensation if they file a claim form. He is urging Kentuckians to take advantage of this opportunity.
“When a Kentucky family is scammed and cannot get its money back, it hurts,” Beshear said. “Here there is $6.7 million available for harmed Kentuckians. We need everyone who was scammed to file a claim.”
A claim form will be sent from the settlement administrator in the next two weeks. The form will contain instructions explaining how Kentuckians may file their claim to receive compensation.
Beshear said if Kentuckians believe they may have an eligible claim and do not receive a claim form in the mail they should visit http://www.westernunionremission.com or call 844-319-2124 for more information on how to file a claim.
All completed claims forms must be mailed back to the settlement administrator by Feb. 12, 2018.
Beshear said because the Department of Justice is handling the claims, each claim form requires an individual’s Social Security number because the Treasury Offset Program must review approved claims.
The agreement Beshear announced in January is part of a multistate settlement with Colorado-based The Western Union Company to resolve an investigation on complaints by consumers who transferred money to a fraudulent third party using the company’s services.
Beshear said most of the settlement amount would go to repay senior citizens who are particularly targeted and victimized by many of the scams that utilize Western Union.
The $586 million nationwide settlement also requires Western Union to develop and put into action a comprehensive anti-fraud program designed to help detect and prevent incidents of fraud from scammers.
Nationally, more than 3 million consumers were conned out of $765 million in 2015. Seniors lose nearly $37 billion a year to elder financial abuse.
Examples of fraud induced wire transfers may involve con artists contacting Kentuckians and falsely posing as family members or friends in distress or in dire financial need, or promising sweepstakes or lottery prizes, and even offers of job opportunities. The con artists direct a victim to send money through Western Union to help a relative or to claim a prize.
Beshear launched Scam Alerts – the state’s first direct messaging service that notifies Kentuckians when con artists are on the attack. Kentuckians may sign up for Scam Alerts by texting KYOAG Scam toGOV311 (468311) or enroll online at ag.ky.gov/scams and select text message or email alerts.
To date, nearly 170 partners have joined Scam Alerts, including Kroger, AARP of Kentucky, the Kentucky Council of Churches, Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, Kentucky Bankers Association, University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service, the Better Business Bureau, the United States Postal Inspection Service, Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Kentucky-Southern Indiana Chapter and the Bluegrass Council of the Blind.