FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, February 1, 2017
CONTACT: Sara Rabern (605) 773-3215
PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Marty Jackley today announced a settlement with the Western Union Company, resolving a multistate investigation which focused on complaints of consumers who used Western Union’s wire transfer service to send money to third parties involved in schemes to defraud consumers.
“The basic concept of a money wire transfer was intended to fill the need of getting money from one known party to another in a quick and safe way. Criminal scam artists have taken this basic concept and pilfered money from consumers on numerous schemes including lottery and contest scams, grandparent scams and romance scams,” said Jackley. “This settlement requires Western Union to develop and put into action a comprehensive anti-fraud program designed to help detect and prevent incidents where consumers use their wire transfer service.”
That anti-fraud program, which Western Union has agreed to implement and update as warranted, includes the following elements:
• Anti-fraud warnings on send 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 prevention of fraud-induced money transfers;
• 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, including $43,222 to South Dakota. 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 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, including South Dakota victims.
More information about the FTC and DOJ settlement, and the remission of those refunds, is available at: