Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Western Union are fined. A lot. Like really a lot.

In "the largest forfeiture ever imposed on a money services business", the US Federal Trade Commission has imposed on Western Union, the money transfer service so beloved of scammers and crooks service, a fine of, wait for it...


Yes, five hundred and eighty-six million US dollars. That's over P6 billion. By anyone's standards, that's a lot of money.

The statement from the FTC explaining why they imposed this fine is damning.
“Western Union owes a responsibility to American consumers to guard against fraud, but instead the company looked the other way, and its system facilitated scammers and rip-offs,” said FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez. “The agreements we are announcing today will ensure Western Union changes the way it conducts its business and provides more than a half billion dollars for refunds to consumers who were harmed by the company’s unlawful behavior.”
“As this case shows, wiring money can be the fastest way to send it – directly into the pockets of criminals and scam artists,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Bitkower. “Western Union is now paying the price for placing profits ahead of its own customers. Together with our colleagues, the Criminal Division will both hold to account those who facilitate fraud and abuse of vulnerable populations, and also work to recoup losses and compensate victims.”
You can see the full statement here. It's worth reading, particularly if you operate a Western Union outlet, use Western Union services or if you're interested in scams. You can see Western Union's response here. It's what you would expect. They're devoted to reducing fraud, are quite heroic in fact, we should love them for all the good work they do. Whatever.

Maybe, just maybe, we'll see scammers finding it a bit harder to steal our money?

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