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Since we told you it’s time to ask for your money back from Western Union’s settlement with the FTC, we’ve gotten some questions about who can make a claim, when, and how it works. Here are some answers.

  • If you lost money to a scammer who had you pay using Western Union between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017, you can file a claim. You have until February 12, 2018, to file your claim.
  • You do not have to pay to get your money back. To file a claim, you have to give your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) on the claim form. But nobody will call you to ask for those numbers, or for your bank account or credit card number. Anyone who does is a scammer, so tell the FTC right away.
  • If you don’t have either a Social Security number or an ITIN, check the box that says so. When asked for a reason, you can explain that you’re not a U.S. citizen – or whatever other explanation applies.
  • The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is managing the claims process through the company they hired, Gilardi & Co. Your claim will go to Gilardi, but we suggest you start at FTC.gov/WU, which will link you to the claims website.
  • If you had reported your loss to Western Union, the FTC, or another government agency earlier, you might have gotten a pre-filled claim form in the mail. But even if you didn’t, you can still file a claim.
  • To prove how much you lost, it helps to have documentation – like a receipt or transfer send form. If you don’t have those, file anyway. Give as much information as you can about your wire transfer and the money you lost, including when and why you sent it. That will help DOJ validate your claim.
  • We know it’s not that safe to send your Social Security number through the mail to someone you’ve never heard of. That’s why we suggest filing your claim online, starting at FTC.gov/WU. But if you got a claim form in the mail from Gilardi and you want to return it by mail, the only address to send it to is: United States v. The Western Union Company, PO Box 404027, Louisville, KY 40233-4027.
  • If you have power of attorney for someone, or you represent their estate, you can file a claim on their behalf.
  • How much money you get back depends on how many people file a claim, and how many claims DOJ can validate.
  • It might take a year for DOJ to process all the claims and send out checks.

 

Check FTC.gov/WU for updates and answers to other questions.

 

231 Comments


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The purpose of this blog and its comments section is to inform readers about Federal Trade Commission activity, and share information to help them avoid, report, and recover from fraud, scams, and bad business practices. Your thoughts, ideas, and concerns are welcome, and we encourage comments. But keep in mind, this is a moderated blog. We review all comments before they are posted, and we won’t post comments that don’t comply with our commenting policy. We expect commenters to treat each other and the blog writers with respect.

  • We won’t post off-topic comments, repeated identical comments, or comments that include sales pitches or promotions.
  • We won’t post comments that include vulgar messages, personal attacks by name, or offensive terms that target specific people or groups.
  • We won’t post threats, defamatory statements, or suggestions or encouragement of illegal activity.
  • We won’t post comments that include personal information, like Social Security numbers, account numbers, home addresses, and email addresses. To file a detailed report about a scam, go to ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

We don't edit comments to remove objectionable content, so please ensure that your comment contains none of the above. The comments posted on this blog become part of the public domain. To protect your privacy and the privacy of other people, please do not include personal information. Opinions in comments that appear in this blog belong to the individuals who expressed them. They do not belong to or represent views of the Federal Trade Commission.

lperlste
January 02, 2018
What happens if you were scammed after Jan 2017?
FTC Staff
January 05, 2018

In reply to by lperlste

You can report a scam to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. You can provide information about the company, what it promised, and what you received. The information you give goes into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

If you used a money transfer service, you can also report it to the Western Union Fraud Hotline at 800-448-1492 or MoneyGram Customer Care Center at 1‑800‑926‑9400.

andreafoxx1
January 24, 2018

In reply to by FTC Staff

I has been scam on line and person has my info and ask me for money and never has give out my info online it was from imposter I did not know can I get my money back?
E. Steed
February 09, 2018

In reply to by FTC Staff

Is there no monetary compensation for victims after January, 2017? What's the rationale for this window?
FTC Staff
February 09, 2018

In reply to by E. Steed

People who sent money to a scammer through Western Union after January 19, 2017 are not covered by the FTC settlement with Western Union. You can report a problem to the WU Fraud Hotline at 800-448-1492 and to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint.

FTC Staff
May 03, 2018

In reply to by Karen O

Yes, you are able to file if you are from Canada. The remission website  says you are not required to be a United States citizen or in the United States to file a petition. Go to FTC.gov/WU for more information and to start the process of filing a claim. You must file by May 31, 2018.

Amy
March 25, 2019

In reply to by FTC Staff

I received a document because I clearly remember being deceived by Western Union and the destination of my money that was STOLEN! I’m an impecunious single mother who immediately sent in my paperwork over 7 months ago. I have had identity theft issues before so I was too incredulous to put in my social security number. I took a picture of the document that I mailed in if you would like to reference them. How long will it REALLY TAKE for you to reimburse me for my losses? You sure did receive a lot of money and I don’t want a wall in our country but I just got a great job in publishing so if I don’t find a deposit or check in my mailbox soon I’m going to call you out because this has been going on too long! If it was in the hands of a lawyer and not the DOJ everyone would have gotten paid by now. DOJ? What does that really mean?
stellavt36
April 16, 2019

In reply to by FTC Staff

I sent a claim in that sais United States V.The Western Union Company PO BOX 404027 Louisville, KY 40233-4027 i have not hear from them the amount was $499.00 i got the claim and sent it back
FTC Staff
April 23, 2019

In reply to by stellavt36

The US Department of Justice hired Gilardi & Co to manage the refund process. Gilardi & Co sent letters to some people and asked them to send information about their claims.

If you get a letter from Gilardi & Co and send the information they ask for, it can help Gilardi & Co evaluate your claim for a refund.

Click on www.FTC.gov/WU to see the FTC page about the Western Union refunds.

Ripped off
January 02, 2018
You already told me my claim could be be paid back to me, even though I gave you clear cut information on the theft, including personal information on the person. So I have accepted your answer. and threw out all paperwork in discuss.
FTC Staff
January 02, 2018

In reply to by Ripped off

Please read the questions and answers at FTC.gov/WU.

Before you can get a refund, your claim must be verified by the Department of Justice. If your claim is verified, the amount you get will depend on how much you lost and the total number of people who submit valid claims.

Only the money you transferred through Western Union is eligible for a refund. Money you paid for Western Union fees is not eligible for a refund. Money you sent through other wire transfer businesses or lost in other ways is not eligible for a refund.

Bella
January 15, 2018

In reply to by FTC Staff

Ms. Small, I find it unethical that we are not entitled to reimbursement for the astronomical fees that Western Union charged. As reported... "even in the face of obvious evidence that many of its own agents were complicit, Western Union ignored it while pocketing massive cash.” I believe that Western Union fees should be addressed. This is beyond wrong, and I find it unacceptable. The rich stay rich as per usual.
jbeltran
April 10, 2019

In reply to by FTC Staff

I'm wondering how DOJ is verifying the claims. People who provided a Western Union tracking number on their claim form are reporting they received a letter stating they're required to provide a copy of the transfer or their claim will be denied. Doesn't Western Union keep copies as part of their business records? Can't they verify the transaction somehow?
sienna
January 02, 2018
I was a victim of the Western Union scam, but do not have any documentation. I know the Western Union which I sent money from in New Haven,CT
FTC Staff
January 02, 2018

In reply to by sienna

You can file a claim if you don't have documents. Give as much information as you can about your wire transfer and the money you lost. Tell when you sent the money and why. Those details will help the Department of Justice validate your claim.  To start, go to FTC.gov/WU.

You must file by February 12, 2018.

FTC Staff
April 23, 2018

In reply to by Monique1982

It may take up to a year to process and verify people’s claims and determine who is eligible to get a payment. Go to FTC.gov/WU for more information and news.

berts500
April 30, 2018

In reply to by FTC Staff

One-year that is unreal. It should be verified upon entry. What about those that were sent a letter indicating the fraud and the amount and the claim data are they waiting a year as well?

FTC Staff
April 30, 2018

In reply to by berts500

All claims are reviewed as they are received. It may take up to a year to process and verify people’s claims and determine who is eligible to get a payment. Go to FTC.gov/WU for more information and news.

Bob W
January 02, 2018
what if the date of the scam was 8/23/17 ???
FTC Staff
January 02, 2018

In reply to by Bob W

You can't file a claim through this refund process for money lost on 8/23/17. You can report the scam to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint, and notify the wire transfer company you used. You can call the Western Union Fraud Hotline at 800-448-1492 or MoneyGram Customer Care Center at 1‑800‑926‑9400.

Steamboat 7
January 02, 2018
I lost $4500 and the money with your scam
FTC Staff
January 02, 2018

In reply to by Steamboat 7

If you lost the money to a scammer between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017 and you paid by Western Union, you can file a claim to get money back. You must file a claim by February 12, 2018. Go to FTC.gov/WU to start.

Mary k
January 03, 2018
Why do we need to give our social security numbers if you have the receipt I've been scammed and have filed with western union too.
FTC Staff
January 02, 2018

In reply to by Mary k

You must give your Social Security Number because, before the Department of Justice (DOJ) can send a refund, DOJ must check with the Treasury Offset Program to verify that you don't owe any money to the federal government. DOJ needs your Social Security number to do the verification.

mary k
January 03, 2018

In reply to by FTC Staff

already been scammed once how do we know that I won't be scammed again by this program . I don't owe any taxes to the government .. .
FTC Staff
January 03, 2018

In reply to by mary k

If you don't want to send your Social Security Number on a claim form by postal mail, the FTC suggests that you file your claim online, start at FTC.gov/WU.

artpaw
January 02, 2018

Re: Scam I was scammed on 04/27/2017 for $1,330 via Western Union and reported the larceny to the Troy, NY Police Dept. The date of crime is not included in the present WU settlement cited in your email. Is there another action pending to include my date of theft? What action can I take now?

FTC Staff
January 02, 2018

In reply to by artpaw

You can report the scam to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint, and call the Western Union Fraud Hotline at 800-448-1492.

gandrews 24
January 11, 2018

In reply to by FTC Staff

I sent money to the AZ prison system from 2004 until 2016 and at times it got loss.
FTC Staff
January 12, 2018

In reply to by gandrews 24

If you lost money to a scammer between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017 and you paid by Western Union, you can file a claim to get money back. You must file a claim by February 12, 2018. Go to FTC.gov/WU to begin.

Don't use your…
January 02, 2018
We were scammed and asked not only to send through Western Union but by Green Dot Cards and by Money Grams. Is there any hope of those monies being retrieved?
FTC Staff
January 03, 2018

In reply to by Don't use your…

This refund process is related only to money you lost to a scammer between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017 and sent by Western Union. You must file a claim by February 12, 2018. Go to FTC.gov/WU to start the process.

 

You can report problems with a MoneyGram transfer to MoneyGram Customer Care Center at 1‑800‑926‑9400.

Christina
January 02, 2018
There is an actual attorney on TV in California taking on clients for this exact purpose. So sad when they can get it for free
FTC Staff
January 03, 2018

In reply to by Christina

Christina, Thank you for your comment. Could you send a copy of your comment about the attorney to bloginfo@ftc.gov?

Recently Skammed
January 02, 2018
I recently was scammed out of $3000.00 by sending five wires on WU btween 12/13/17 and 1/2/18. Any chance of getting some money back?
FTC Staff
January 04, 2018

In reply to by Recently Skammed

 You can report the scam to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint and to Western Union's Fraud Hotline at 800-448-1492. The information you give the FTC goes into a secure database that law enforcement uses for investigations nationwide.

marina52
January 03, 2018

sorry before was not right adrress. Well that's a good news I'll see what else I have left and will send via mail. Thank you very much for the good news

Cynic
January 02, 2018
Noticed that you said the amount you get back depends on the number of valid claims and on whether DoJ can validate your claim. That implies victims will not get back everything they lost and that the amount being refunded is a set amount. That said, will the funds be doled out equally to all valid claims or will it be proportional to what you lost (eg someone who lost $9000 would get back more than someone who lost $1000, but neither would get back the full amount they lost)?
Goodrow
October 17, 2018

In reply to by FTC Staff

My mother was scammed and we sent in all the prerequisite paperwork. Western Union then sent an email saying that they needed one more piece of information which we sent. Now it's email after email of them saying they don't have everything. It's very clear they are trying to keep putting us off until we give up. Who do we contact to intervene on our behalf? There seems to be nobody actually forcing Western Union to pay the money they agreed to pay.
FTC Staff
October 17, 2018

In reply to by Goodrow

Are you getting email from Western Union or from the Gilardi & Co., the company that is working with the US Department of Justice to verify claims? 

If you are communicating with Gilardi & Co., they are asking for information so they can verify the claim. It may take up to a year to process and verify people’s claims and determine who is eligible to get a payment. No one has gotten a payment yet.

jennifercose
September 04, 2019

In reply to by Goodrow

My husband are being scammed for $38,000, we received a mail that our papers are not enough, they need more proof from us, but we lose some of the papers from moving, and we ask western union for all the money transaction my husband made, and it never came. I don't want to gave up, but my husband tired of it anymore.
FTC Staff
September 04, 2019

In reply to by jennifercose

Gilardi & Co. works for the US Department of Justice. It is helping the US Department of Justice with the refund process. Gilardi & Co. asked some people to send more proof. You can tell Gilardi about this problem with Western Union, and give them the papers you have now.

You can send email to Gilardi & Co. to say Western Union did not send the papers you need. Send email to Gilardi at info@WesternUnionRemission.com.

Or, write a letter to Gilardi at:

United States v. The Western Union Company
P.O. Box 404027
Louisville, KY 40233-4027

kathmitch
January 02, 2018
My mother gave my brother $6,500 to pay to Western Union. My brother has since deceased, but he is the one who filled out the Western Union paperwork. Can she file a claim using his SS #? Or can she use her SS # and explain that she is the one who actually paid the money?
FTC Staff
January 04, 2018

In reply to by kathmitch

The questions answers at FTC.gov/WU say you can file a claim for a family member, friend or client if you represent their estate, or if you have a power of attorney for the person making the claim. The other questions and answers at FTC.gov/WU explain more about the refund process.

Scammed&mad25
January 02, 2018
Not only was I scammed when I had sent $1,100 through Western Union to a “Mule” in Georgia, am I able to file a claim for the $4,695 I had sent to what I thought was a real person. Sent it from my bank to a bank in California in which another “Mule” picked up?
FTC Staff
January 03, 2018

In reply to by Scammed&mad25

Read about the kinds of scams covered by the Western Union refunds at FTC.gov/WU.

If you lost money to a scammer between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017 and you paid by Western Union, you can file a claim to get money back. You must file a claim by February 12, 2018. Go to FTC.gov/WU to start the process.