Whether it’s the “distant relative stranded in a foreign country” scam or the “you’ve won the lottery but you have to pay us scam” or any other variation on this remotely operated ruse, wire transfer services like Western Union are often the conduit for getting that money from the victim to the scammer. After years of being accused of not doing enough to clamp down on fraud by its customers, Western Union has agreed to pay $585 million to federal authorities and admit that its policies — and some of its agents — aided and abetted wire fraud. [More]
They’re names you probably come into contact with every day — Walmart, McDonald’s, Nike, and more — but they were once newcomers on the scene, with names they shed years ago. [More]
How many likely tenants are there for a concrete suburban office complex of 470,000 square feet? The owners of office complexes are having similar problems to the owners of malls, but for different reasons. As shoppers have moved either to ritzier malls or to shipping online, offices have moved back into cities. Both changes leave behind massive buildings or complexes that nobody wants. [More]
A mortgage payment company owned by Western Union has agreed to return $33.4 million to consumers following allegations that it misled customers into thinking they could save thousands of dollars on their home loans. [More]
Because nothing gold can stay, AMC’s popular Mad Men has reached the final episode of its final, seventh season. Over the course of the show, we’ve seen pitches for a multitude of companies, brands, sports, groups and even cities. While some of those brands were created for the show, the large majority were very real — and some continue to exist today. In the spirit of nostalgia, we thought now might be the right time to check in on those products and companies pitched by Sterling Cooper (and its various rebirths), to see which have been lost to the mists of time, and which still remain. [More]
Lest you think that the Consumerist batcave is somehow immune from cold-calling scammers, here’s a little story about the utter failure of a scammer who just attempted to defraud me out of a “processing fee,” in order to claim my Mega Millions winnings.
A search for Western Union’s name on Consumerist will bring up a pile of stories about scammers who, with varying levels of success, have attempted to use the money-wiring service as conduit to transmit ill-gotten cash from their victims. While Western Union is certainly not guilty of the crimes committed by these fraudsters, are there steps the company could take to discourage these abuses?
The FTC has got 10 ways to protect yourself from international scam rings. The most important one has go to be to never deposit a check in your account with the agreement that you’re going to wire a portion of it elsewhere.
One good way to get ripped off in a transaction is to agree to wire the other person money. Whether it’s through your bank, money order, or Western Union, wiring money has zero protections against loss. Which is why con artists love it dearly.
Grace almost got scammed on eBay. A fraudster cracked a high-value seller’s account and posted a fake listing for a camera and tried to make Grace pay for it using Western Union, a huge warning sign of a scam. That’s typical, but these criminals went the extra mile. “Above and beyond,” if you will. When she tried to ask some questions about the transaction, they directed her to a live online chat that was mocked up to look like a real eBay customer service chat and tried to assuage her concerns by telling her it was okay to use Western Union because she had “buyer protection!” Here’s her story and the chat transcript so you can learn and not get burned:
When some lowlife tried to scam Andy the other day through his friend’s hijacked Gmail account, Andy tried to get him to use PayPal, and he came up with a great reason why. “It’s the fastest way to send money,” Andy told the scammer. “Once I deposit the funds, you can print it out of any color printer and it’s real money!” Another reader was so amused by it that she decided to use it on her own Facebook scammer earlier today.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you responded to one of those Nigerian scam emails, offering fabulous riches for just a small amount of work? Here’s the story from an unsuspecting college student who totally fell for one. An impecunious immigrant to this country from rural China, he made the perfect target for “Dr. Mike Johnson.” The good doctor was looking to hire some employees. The job? Cashing Traveler’s Cheques and forwarding the money on to Nigeria… In other words, the job was to be a victim of check fraud. Here’s the story…
You probably already knew that, but like Shemika, you probably didn’t think it would happen to you.
Wiring money has gotten a lot more difficult since September 11th. This we know, and many of us are willing to put up with the more convoluted process. Still, when you’re caught in the looping bowels of that convoluted process during an emergency, and companies like Western Union treat you like a criminal as you try to get cash to a loved one, you start wondering if terrorists are the ones really being inconvenienced.
Offering a friend a bit of a slump-time bump, today we sent some money via Western Union. Since it was the first time we had used their service, they requested that we call their call center to confirm something. They didn’t state what.