N.J. Residents Deceived Into Paying Scammers Via Western Union

TRENTON – State residents who were scammed into using Western Union payments can seek compensation from a multi-state settlement, the attorney general announced.

Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino said New Jersey residents who were deceived into sending payments to scammers using Western Union’s wire transfer service can seek compensation from a $586 million settlement with Western Union, in which the state participated.

Compensation may be available to those residents who were victims of the fraud-induced money transfer using Western Union services between Jan.1, 2004 and Jan. 19, 2017.

Third-party con artists got unwitting customers to wire money using Western Union. The settlement with Western Union resolved an investigation into these fraud-induced money transfers.

The attorney general’s office said that New Jerseyans who reported this them or Western Union may soon receive a claim form in the mail, possibly within two weeks. The form will explain how to file a claim. Those who feel they are eligible but do not receive a form may file a claim at westernunionremission.com or call 1-844-319-2124 for more information.

Filing a claim is free, and no personal information such as bank account or credit card numbers will be requested. All claims must be returned by Feb. 12.

“Unfortunately, con artists use all types of ruses and tall tales to convince people to wire them money – and they sometimes succeed. Some of these ‘send money’ scams may appeal to the target’s humanitarianism or love of family, while others may suggest the would-be victim needs to wire money in order to claim a big sweepstakes prize,” Porrino said.

“The position of the states in this matter was that Western Union must be more vigilant going forward,” Porrino said, “but consumers can protect themselves, too, by exercising great caution in the face of overtures asking that they send money. If a person is being told a loved one is in need or in danger, we urge that he or she proceed with deliberation and make every effort to authenticate the story independently. And if a supposed ‘bargain’ or ‘contest prize’ sounds too good to be true, it probably is. We recommend that they not take the bait.”

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Ocean County native Jennifer Peacock is a community journalist and photographer. She’s written for weekly and daily newspapers in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia for more than 20 years. Readers can contact her at jpeacock@jerseyshoreonline.com.