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We’ve all known for a long time that scammers ask people to pay by wiring money. Money wiring companies like MoneyGram and Western Union have also known that scammers have people wire money using their services. In fact, the FTC has sued both companies – which have paid a lot of money to settle those charges – over exactly that issue. When the FTC settled with those companies (MoneyGram in 2009, Western Union in 2017), they also agreed to make changes to protect people from fraud. Except MoneyGram didn’t actually take some of those important steps.

That’s why the FTC and the Department of Justice (DOJ) just announced a new settlement with MoneyGram for $125 million. That money will eventually go back to people who wired – and lost – money to a scammer through MoneyGram starting in 2013. (There will be a date range for eligible refund requests. Exact dates will follow.)

Here’s the story: in 2009, MoneyGram had promised to vet the agents they were hiring, train them to spot fraud, monitor them to watch for fraud-related money transfers, take action if they saw an agent who didn’t try to reduce fraud, and also record fraud complaints and share them with the FTC.

But the FTC’s investigation showed that MoneyGram hadn’t adequately done those things – especially in their large chain outlets. And MoneyGram’s system that should have helped spot and stop fraudsters operating in plain sight? It basically didn’t work for a year and a half, letting millions of dollars in fraud-related transfers go through.

Now, MoneyGram has to put in place more protections that address all the ways it did not follow the order last time. And pay that $125 million to DOJ, which will work with the FTC to set up a refund program to get it back to people.

What should you do to get a refund? Right now, nothing. It might take several months for the refund process to even start. When it does, it will be free to request a refund. And we’ll tell you here and at ftc.gov/MoneyGram what happens next.

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219 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.

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LYNDA
November 08, 2018
I’m happy to know this as I was scammed by thousands of dollars by those who claimed they were military . Thanks!
JL
February 24, 2021

In reply to by LYNDA

That happened to my son as well. Was supposed to be a military person transferring overseas and couldn't take a car with them.
Skboddie82
November 08, 2018
They closed out my account and now I am no longer allowed to use them.
Libra
December 14, 2018

In reply to by Skboddie82

My account was closed, I lost my rent money, my direct deposit paychecks. I alerted my own bank and I lost. The check was written on Bank of America. I went to the branch and had them check it out. I was told the check was valid. I cashed it 10 days after that. I found out 4 months later it was fake. I quit talking to that piece of crap already.
Virgo/December…
December 18, 2018

In reply to by Libra

Thank the Lord!!!! I was at my wit's end. I have the exact same problem Libra how are you solving your problem. Please help me.
Yogachic4life57
February 16, 2019

In reply to by Virgo/December…

I just pray I can get some of my money back.
Miss.hardnett
March 05, 2019

In reply to by Virgo/December…

May god be with yall in our time of need i can asure you that i really need this.
Barb53
November 08, 2018
I have expecting money back to my new address since 2016? amount of 478.00
barb67430
November 08, 2018
I don't have proof but I was mixed up in a scam. Wonder what to do?
Conniesan
November 08, 2018
I did not lose any money to fraud, but did receive a phone call from someone who knew all my information wanting to sell me a phone card. Of course did not buy one, but my debit card was hacked after using it online for MoneyGram. Now to send money have to visit a physical location. It is a pain but do not want to obtain another debit card to send money.
Victim2012
November 08, 2018
You stated That money will eventually go back to people who wired – and lost – money to a scammer through MoneyGram starting in 2013. What if you were scammed and lost money on 8.22.2012? Would I be eligible for a refund?
penseramoi
February 22, 2021

In reply to by Victim2012

I have been a victim of email scams and I’ve sent money by money gram and I have been told today they cannot refund the money I’ve lost but with western union They do everything to get your money back can anyone help me please as I am very worried and I have borrowed all the money to send to the scammers
firemanbill15
November 08, 2018
Lately I have been receiving numerous phone calls on my cell phone all hours of the day from a restricted number . I am Unable to block the call . How do I get this to stop. any suggestions ? Please reply, frustrated and discussed
Phil A.
November 08, 2018

In reply to by firemanbill15

Go to nomorobo.com. You can download nomorobo for your land line for free. There is a small monthly charge for cell phones, but you won't be bothered by robo calls anymore. I've had it on my land line for a couple of years; it's wonderful to see all the robo calls dumped after one ring, without having to answer them! Good luck, firemanbill15!
scammed - than…
February 26, 2019

In reply to by K.N.

Thank you for sueing moneygram. I knew from my experiences that they were still allowing fraud to happen and I knew the FTC will get them again. I was scammed thousands of dollars. I was sued and had to file bankruptcy. I filed with the FTC, police, other agencies and moneygram (they did not process my fraud claim until 2018 - even though I contacted many times through many avenues in 2016 , 2017 and 2018 ( fraud occurred in 2016). Moneygram were hesitant in processing fraud claim and to this day they have not given me a print out of my transactions ( they even told me I needed request from police, attorney or judge to get my information). even after filling out their form to get transactions in 2018. Contacted them recently via email - still no response. I have some of the receipts. I hope the FTC looks into this as well and requires moneygram to send documents to the victims so we can get our money back, Thanks again. LS
luziaemerique
November 08, 2018
That's news I've been waiting for some time. Because in 2016 I lost money, and if I have the right to react it I would like to get that value back. Thank you very much for the contact, I'll be attentive.
Yogachic4life57
February 16, 2019

In reply to by luziaemerique

I have also been ripped off by money gram and western union. This man claimed his name was Frank Scott and was a engineer. I found out after he got thousands from me. It was a network romance. I would love to get some of my money back soon, cause i really do need it. It happened on Instagram.
Mriv77
November 09, 2018
I was scamed aswell I was sent a letter with a large check witch required for the check to be submitted into my bank and then I lost my account do to theft and froud. On or about $4,000 to $5,000 was taken. Plus the money they stole
MARTINARCHIE
November 08, 2018
I GOT SCAMMED OUT OF 6000 OR MORE THRU MONEY GRAM I AM NOW IN A HARD PLACE HOPE TO HEAR SOMETHING ABOUT THIS SOON
ashleybaxterca…
December 18, 2018

In reply to by MARTINARCHIE

I was scammed through Instagram, from Ashley baxter cash grant agents. They said I won a bonus from trying to invest with them. To pick up money that hadn’t been picked up. I asked if it was real to a money gram agent. They told me they had seen it before, so I felt safe doing it. Plus after googling the name and looking through the testimonials it seemed to be a no brainer. But then after I paid to get the bonus. They said the money didn’t go through and when I tried to get the money back by calling money gram the guy hung up on me. And I called the actual MoneyGram number off the website that was the official number from all areas of the region. So as much as it sounds and looks like a great investment. It was not, be careful there are too many people trying to take what people have went to school and worked for by real morals and values. Not by scamming people outta lies and deceptive sales pitch. With stories to back them. Money gram will never see another dime from me.
Grl604
October 04, 2019

In reply to by ashleybaxterca…

This is a old post but please remember if you won any money for a bonus or anything no legitimate person is going to say you have to pay to receive that money
Cynic
November 08, 2018
Holding middle men responsible can help a bit, but ultimately, scammers will keep ripping people off as long as it remains profitable. Remember, no legitimate business demands payment in gift cards. Be highly skeptical of demands to wire money. When being called unexpectedly by people claiming to be family or government, etc, verify before you send a dime. Even if caller ID indicates it is who they claim to be, it’s still wise to verify independently. Phone numbers can be spoofed to fool your caller ID.
MARTINARCHIE
November 08, 2018
BACK IN 2013 I GOT SCAMMED OUT OF MORE THAN 8,000.00 I HAVE ALL MY RECEIPTS ,AND FILED A POLICE REPORT
dulian
November 08, 2018
I lost a lot of money through MoneyGram and Western Union too because of scammers. I only regret that I didn't learn about this being a scam until I had already lost my money. It was only when I was approached by law enforcement that I learned it was clearly a scam. I did get out, but I lost so much. I am still trying to pay my way back to some kind of a normal life because of scammers. Every time I tried to get out of my scam, they persuaded me to keep trying to get the money because I was so close to delivery of the prize money I had won. Three times they were supposed to deliver to me, but didn't show. I am older now and much wiser due to these scammers, but I was told by law enforcement that I would never be able to recover what I had lost. This gives me hope that maybe one day I will get something back to help myself. I do have originals and copies of transactions through both of these companies. I only hope that it will not be costly to try to get some of these fees back.
Kikirii
July 31, 2020

In reply to by dulian

I had a moneygram money order I had I messed it up so I have resented back and I'm still waiting for a respond can you help me
marina52
November 09, 2018
also They closed out my account and now I am no longer allowed to use them.
Bebe
November 08, 2018
Waiting on more info..... Need this!!
Carlinieto50
November 08, 2018
I was scammed twice by a man in Ghana and used money gram and western union , how do I get that back?
Inez
November 08, 2018
I lost money to scammers from moneygram services last year 2017
GrandmaInez
November 08, 2018
I have receipts from moneygram and had used moneygram to wire money to someone who turned out to be a scammer.
scorpio
June 19, 2020

In reply to by GrandmaInez

What happened after ? I am in the same situation? Did it get resolved?
Jeffhanson28
November 09, 2018
Hi am Jeff hanson and I have used moneygram to pay bills and a thank that I was part fo that skam and am going to find out if I can get pay back to my and all the people should be fired form thay jobs thank you Jeff hanson
Karen
November 08, 2018
I was scammed by using money gram and western union. I hope to hear something from you.
HappyToHear2018
November 08, 2018
So happy to hear this as I was a victim of a scam and a lot of the money was sent via Money Gram. Maybe there is hope.
Jeaniemonte
November 08, 2018
I, too lost money, in fact, the company going ny the name of Customer 1st, sent me a check for $2450.00 & told me that it was a cashier's check (it looked real), & told me to deposit it, so I did, then a few days later my bank told me that the funds were available. Then the Customer 1st company told me to do a Walmart-to-Walmart transfer, which I did for over $2200.00. Later in the month my bank told me that it was a fictitious check , so I was out over $2200.00. Would sure be nice to get some of that money back!
JSP8352
March 12, 2019

In reply to by Jeaniemonte

I just got scammed by this same type of scam but they said it was a secret shopper company for the same amount as you. They told me that for doing the secret shopper I can kee $200 out of the $2,450. A couple days ago my bank let me know that the check bounced. Luckily I took pictures of the money grams that I sent and was able to file a replacement report with Moneygram and now they are sending my money back. Look into that I hope this helps. Let me know if you have questions.
Susie q
February 29, 2020

In reply to by JSP8352

Omg!!! That literally just happened to me . That’s so not cool. I have kids I have kids and now I can’t buy food
scorpio
June 19, 2020

In reply to by JSP8352

I got messages too regarding secret shopper and that i was to keep 10% just needed to evaluate moneygram while wiring the money to said address. My bank then calls me letting me know that it was a scam. What happened afterwards with you ? Did you get the money back?
frequent flyer
November 08, 2018
Hello Consumer FTC, Once again Kudos! You never disappoint! Whenever I read about something that I’ve perhaps been a victim of (and even situations that I was lucky enough to have avoided) NOT LONG AFTER you’ve posted an update. I am just enjoying once again seeing the bad guys loose and consumer protection win for us! I was involved in some of these MONEYGRAM shenanigans and am looking forward to some of my refunded money also. I know you’ll post again with instructions and I’ll follow them like before.. You my not remember off hand but I’ll never forget the very nice and unexpected refund I was sent from money lost from a “not so on the up and up” debt repair company I stupidly contracted with. I’d like to reply to Victim 2012 who blogged about his involvement in this MONEYGRAM scam but it was in 2012. I can tell you that many times the Consumer FTC has more information on losses that victims had than even they do themselves! Just stay posted and advise whatever you can. And mention again that your loss was also on account of this MONEYGRAM scam and reiterate the information. It may take a little extra time but Trust them! I know first hand that if you lost money via a scam they’ll be there for you!
Rjp@rocket
November 08, 2018
I sent money from 2014 to 2017. Every month for those years. How do i get my money back. It is close to $200,000
rebeccaw33
November 27, 2018

In reply to by Rjp@rocket

Well that would of made u as crazy as I am know. They got more then that from me.sad part is it was all the people I gave my heart too. Money would be nice but the pain they insured doing it to me I'm fpretty cold.
Gretel
December 10, 2018

In reply to by rebeccaw33

I understand you just to well, i gave my heart to a man and lost over 10,000 i know will never come back
Single mother
October 01, 2021

In reply to by Rjp@rocket

I was scammed out of 18,000 that I was trying to save to move and I know how you feel.
Helenmarteen
November 09, 2018
Thanks God I lost a lot of money, I received from Canada a check from some scam lottery I cash out in my bank and sent back them to receive my aware and never hear from this people, I saw my self very ugly after that, I used money Grant, was a completed fraud, hope soon have news to get my money back
KIDO67401
November 09, 2018
I had been scammed starting in September of 2016. Would like to get my money back. Thanks for the information I will be watching for more information.
Dhisseb1967
November 09, 2018
Yes I lost a lot of money through money gram and months ago I tried to get my records from them and they said they have nothing on file and I’m mad because it’s around 15k and anybody that can help me recoup this I would seriously be grateful thank you
Just here to help
November 09, 2018
Those wondering how to get a refund without any proof need not worry. Money gram has all transactions recorded. This will also stop those pretending to have been scammed and are just trying to get free money, thus scamming the system here to help others.
CrankyYankee
November 09, 2018
Not sure if I was scammed but for months I was hounded by "Western Union" (?) for money 'they' said I owed them for a money order I sent. If the money wasn't in the account then how could I have paid for the money order?! "They" finally gave up.