Application deadline approaching for Western Union scam settlement
$586 million set aside to reimburse consumers scammed using Western Union payment methods.
Some victims of lottery and other scams have a chance to have some of their money refunded, thanks to a settlement last year between the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Western Union, a popular payment processor used by scammers. Western Union agreed to pay $586 million to resolve charges brought by the FTC and the U. S. Department of Justice that the company looked the other way in fraud-induced money transfers on fraudulent lottery and prizes, family emergencies, advance-fee loans, online dating and other scams.
Anyone who sent money to scammers through Western Union between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017, should file a claim to get their money back before the deadline of February 12, 2018. Information about filing claims may be found at FTC.gov/WU; individuals who already reported losses to Western Union, the FTC or other government agency may get a form in the mail.
How to Keep Yourself Protected
Drawing Results: Use the following sources to determine winning tickets: watch the televised drawing (if available); check a lottery home page; ask retailers to print winning numbers from the terminal; call a lottery's winning numbers line; listen to results on local radio stations (if available); check results in local newspapers (if available).
Security: Sign your ticket. Players should check tickets prior to leaving the lottery retailer. Make sure your ticket represents the game and numbers you want and the drawings you want to enter. Players are responsible for determining whether a ticket is a winner. See the back of the the ticket for important information about rules and your rights and responsibilities as a player.
The Winning Experience: When checking or redeeming your tickets, lotteries use various ways to identify if your ticket is a winner:
- Ask the retailer to scan your ticket through the terminal while you can observe the terminal. You may hear the winning jingle, which plays at a loud, fixed volume, or you will see the prize amount, the word "Winner", and a universal win symbol ($) on the Customer Display Monitor.
- Ask your retailer to return your winning ticket along with the validation slip printed by the terminal.
- Some lotteries also use ticket checking terminal where you can scan the ticket barcode to determine if it is a winner.
Scams: If you receive suspicious materials, telephone calls or e-mails or if you are ever in doubt about information that supposedly came from a legitimate lottery, call the lottery in your jurisdiction and ask for the Security Department. See important information and videos on scams at the Consumer Federation of America's website at: consumerfed.org/in_the_media/fraud-videos-and-audio/
There is no legitimate reason why anyone would give you a check or money order and ask you to wire money anywhere in return. Find out more at: Consumer Protection Branch: justice.gov/civil/consumer-protection-branch and US Postal Inspection Service: postalinspectors.uspis.gov/radDocs/victim.htm
There is no way to stop them without your help! Here's what you can do:
- Never redeem a lottery ticket for someone you do not know.
- Never give your credit card numbers to anyone promising lottery cash prizes or memberships.
- Never respond or send money to someone who offers you a guarantee of winning a prize. The lottery does not guarantee you a prize, only a chance of winning one if you buy a legal ticket from an authorized lottery retailer.
- If you are going to participate in a "lottery pool," do so only with people you know and trust.
- Buy lottery tickets only from authorized lottery retailers.
Lotteries provide fun, excitement and prizes for players. Don't allow these scam artists to take your money and spoil your fun.
The old saying still holds true, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." Don't be a victim and don't let anyone you know be a victim. When you hear one of these stories - get away, call the police, and give them a description. Help stop these criminals - before they strike again.
The Most Common Tricks - and The Truth
|The Scam||The Truth|
|"This is a winning ticket, but I need money to claim it. If you help me with the upfront money, I'll share the jackpot with you."||Once a ticket is bought, no money is EVER required to claim a prize.|
|"I can't cash in my winning lottery ticket"||You don't have to be a U.S. citizen to claim a lottery prize|
|"Let's call the lottery. They'll tell us this is a winning ticket."||We NEVER confirm that a ticket is a winner over the phone. The person on the phone is part of the scam.|
|"We need to hurry! I need to get back to my family - it's an emergency!"||The thieves are trying to rush you so you don't have time to think or call someone for advice|