You may know the FTC for its consumer information, and for taking action against shady companies that violate the law. But did you know the FTC returns millions of dollars to people as a result of those actions? In fact, last year, 1.7 million people nationwide and in 64 countries received payments totaling $483 million because of the FTC’s enforcement actions. People got refunds resulting from more than 50 FTC cases. The most money — around $300 million — went back to about 142,000 people because of a settlement with Western Union.
When the FTC sends refunds, it usually uses customer lists and contact information it gets from the defendants. If that information isn’t available, the agency may ask people to file a claim or use its Consumer Sentinel database to find people who are eligible for a refund. The database includes reports people make to the FTC, Better Business Bureaus, and federal, state, and local law enforcement offices. When you report a scam or fraud, you may help law enforcement, and yourself. For example, many people who reported sending money to lottery, romance, sweepstakes or other online scammers through Western Union got full refunds in 2020.
The FTC will never require you to pay fees in advance, or ask for sensitive information, like your bank account information. If someone contacts you and says they’re from the FTC but they want you to send money, it’s a scam. Even if they claim to be FTC Chairman Joe Simons — like some scammers have — if they ask for money, it’s a scam.
Check out the list of recent cases that led to refunds, and who to contact with questions, at FTC.gov/refunds. And explore details of the refund program with the FTC’s interactive dashboards, which let you look at refunds by year or by case. The dashboards can tell you how many people got refunds, where checks were sent, and how much money went to people in a specific state or country.
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.
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- 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.
In reply to As I'm just finding out about by Don't use your…
The deadline to file a claim was May 31, 2018. The Department of Justice (DOJ) plans to provide a way for people to apply for refunds in the future. When there is information about how to apply, DOJ will post it on the Western Union Remission(link is external) site.
The FTC has more information at www.FTC.gov/WU.
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In reply to What is the CORRECT email by Donaphine
You can report a scam, fraud or bad business practice to the FTC at www.ReportFraud.ftc.gov. When you report, you can copy and paste a message and add it to the report.
In reply to Got a letter for possible by MH
After a settlement with the FTC, US Department of Justice, and US Postal Inspection Service, MoneyGram agreed to pay a $125 million dollar settlement. That money will go back to people who sent money to scammers through MoneyGram. Read more at FTC.gov/MoneyGram.
The company that is managing the refunds (Gilardi & Co.) is sending prefilled claim forms to people who paid scammers using MoneyGram transfers. The claim forms show a dollar loss amount that's based on MoneyGram records. The claim forms tell you what to do if you agree, or don't agree, with that dollar loss amount.
You must put your Social Security number on the claim form so the federal Treasury Offset Program can check whether you owe any money to the federal government before it sends a payment.
In reply to Has the DOJ been sending by TJSPZ
If you used MoneyGram to send money to a scammer between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2017, you may get a prefilled claim form in the mail. The claim forms, from claims administrator Gilardi & Co. LLC, are the first step in distributing money from the $125 million settlement with the FTC in 2018.
The FTC published a blog about the MoneyGram refunds on March 5, 2021. The blog explains the claim form requires you to give your Social Security number (SSN). That’s because the federal Treasury Offset Program must find out whether you owe money to the US government before you can get a payment. It needs your SSN to do that.
You can read more at www.FTC.gov/Moneygram, and at the www.MoneyGramRemission.com.