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Western Union will pay millions over scammers using the money-wire service

(KUTV) You've heard the lies from the scammers:

  • You owe money for taxes and can settle the debt, before cops kick in your door, by wiring the money via Western Union.
  • A relative is in trouble, arrested on foreign soil. If you don’t want him or her to rot in a jail cell, you need to wire money via Western Union to pay for the lawyers, or buy off the police.
  • You've won a government grant. Just wire us a few hundred dollars via Western Union to cover the fees.

The phone calls pull on the heart strings, or instill panic in the scammer’s victims who are encouraged to act quickly before having a chance to verify the information.

And the scams are Western Union should have helped stop, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC sued Western Union saying, "Its agents were involved in fraudulent schemes."

The FTC argued that Western Union had a "legal obligation" to "detect and report this criminal conduct to the authorities," and that "Western Union failed to act," leading to "massive victim losses."

Western Union has now settled the case, agreeing to pay $586 million dollars. That money will be split among victims of scams.

Victims do need to act quickly. Claim must be filed before February 12, 2018.

Claims can be filed at www.ftc.gov/wu

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