Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Western Union Offers Some Suggestions on Protecting Yourself


1. What can I do to protect myself?


  • Western Union does not recommend sending money to anyone you don't know. Only transfer money to someone you know personally or whose identity you can verify!

  • If you are purchasing goods or services and paying through the Western Union network, you do so at your own risk.

  • Western Union does not recommend use of its money transfer service when doing business with a stranger and is not responsible for the non-receipt or quality of any goods or services.

  • Western Union does not recommend using money transfer services to pay for online auction purchases. Do not send money using a fictitious recipient's name. This will not protect you when purchasing from someone you don't know.

  • Remember that Western Union does not require a receiver to present a money transfer control number (MTCN) to pick up funds.

  • Discontinue any transaction in which you are instructed or coached on how to respond to questions asked by Western Union. This is a sure sign of fraud.

      - Who is this person?

      - Does this money have to be sent immediately?

      - Does this offer sound too good to be true?

Security is everyone's responsibility. Stay informed. Keep abreast of consumer fraud trends. A few excellent sources of information include your local newspaper and websites hosted by the United States' Federal Trade Commission (www.FTC.gov ) and the National Association of Attorney's General (www.NAAG.org). Remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

2. Are there common consumer fraud scenarios to be aware of?

  • Be wary of once-in-a-lifetime investment opportunities.

  • Be wary of a return of a lost pet or valuables.

  • Beware of bargain-priced electronics or other equipment.

  • Be wary if you are required to pay a fee before receiving a loan.

  • Beware of sweepstakes, prize or lottery company representatives who tell you to transfer money to them in order to claim a prize you've won. There are many companies running fraudulent contests that ask you to transfer them money but give you nothing in return.

  • Beware of unsolicited letters or emails from a Nigerian or other foreign government official requesting assistance in the transfer of excess funds from a foreign country into your bank account.

  • Beware of telephone calls from the police claiming someone you know has been in an accident or arrested and is requesting money.

  • Beware of unsolicited letters or emails offering an unrealistic price for expensive or difficult to find merchandise.

  • Beware if you have been overpaid for an item you are selling by cashier's check or postal money order and have been instructed to return the overpayment amount to the buyer or other party via money transfer. Cashier's checks and postal money orders can take up to a month to fully clear. If the payment turns out to be fraudulent, you could be held responsible for the entire amount withdrawn from your bank.

  • Be wary of offers of employment that require you to deposit money into your account and then wire it to a third party.

  • Make sure you know to whom you are sending money. If you are purchasing goods or services and paying through the Western Union network, it is your responsibility to verify the reputation and legitimacy of the seller. Western Union is not responsible for the non-receipt or quality of any goods or services.
3. How can I protect my password?
  • Never share your www.WesternUnion.com password with anyone. You are responsible for keeping your password confidential. If you suspect your password has been compromised, change it immediately.

  • Select a password that is unique and difficult to guess. As a general rule, it is a good idea to choose a password that uses both letters and numbers. Avoid using a password that is easy to figure out; do NOT use your email address as your password or other common passwords such as "password," "westernunion," "1234," etc.

  • Change your password frequently.

  • Do not use the same password that you currently use for any other online services.
4. I received a suspicious email from someone claiming to be Western Union, what should I do?

If you receive an email from a company representing itself as Western Union and you are not sure it was sent by www.WesternUnion.com, do not click on any links in the email. Instead, immediately forward the suspicious email to Western Union so it may be examined. Send it to customerservice@westernunion.com .

Western Union will never send you an email asking for your user ID or password.

5. Can the Test Question feature secure my funds or delay payment of a transaction?

The "Test Question" feature in the Western Union Money Transfer service is designed for emergency situations where the receiver does not have proper identification (e.g. his or her wallet and identification have been stolen).

  • Any other use of a test question may be fraudulent. It should never be used as additional security to time or delay the payment of a transaction.

  • In addition to identification, a test question may be required by a few countries in order to process a transaction. Check with your Western Union® Agent location to be sure of the requirements in your receiver's country.
6. Does Western Union offer an escrow service or any kind of buyer protection?

Western Union does not offer an escrow service or any type of "purchase protection" policy. Western Union's business is to transfer funds from a sender to a receiver. We caution people who use our services against sending money to people they don't know. It is the sender's responsibility to know the party to which the funds are being sent. Using a fictitious name or changing the Receiver name after the money transfer has been sent is not a guaranteed means of securing funds. If a receiver presents proper identification with the same name as on the money transfer, payment will be made.

Be wary of 3rd party "collection" or "holding" services unless they are a reputable, licensed escrow service. Western Union is not an escrow service, should not be used as an escrow service and is currently not affiliated with any escrow services.

7. What can I do if I suspect fraud or am a victim of fraud?

If you have just sent a money transfer transaction and suspect that you may be a victim of fraud, ask the sales clerk to stop your transaction immediately or call Western Union. If the transfer has not been completed, your principal and fees will be refunded.

Contact your State Attorney General's Office of Consumer Affairs if you are uncertain or suspicious of a telephone, mail or email solicitation.

If you feel you have been the victim of fraud, you can access the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) at www.IFCCFBI.gov/ or contact the Federal Trade Commission through their web site at www.FTC.gov/.

8. What does Western Union do to protect my information?

If you have just sent a money transfer transaction and suspect that you may be a victim of fraud, ask the sales clerk to stop your transaction immediately or call Western Union. If the transfer has not been completed, your principal and fees will be refunded.

Contact your State Attorney General's Office of Consumer Affairs if you are uncertain or suspicious of a telephone, mail or email solicitation.

If you feel you have been the victim of fraud, you can access the Internet Fraud Complaint Center (IFCC) at www.IFCCFBI.gov/ or contact the Federal Trade Commission through their web site at www.FTC.gov/.

If you have questions that are not answered here, please contact Western Union:
  • by mail:

  • Customer Service in English:
    Western Union Financial Services, Inc.
    PO BOX 4430
    Bridgeton, MO 63044

    Customer Service in Spanish:
    Western Union Financial Services, Inc.
    PO BOX 130780
    Dallas, TX 75313

  • or by phone: Call 1-800-325-6000 to speak with a Customer Service Representative in English, or find an Agent location.








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Behavior Management Expert and Maximizing Your Potential Mentor™ Etienne A. Gibbs is a life-observing author, engaging talk show host, humorous speaker, and successful trainer who teaches small business owners, managers, and employees how to speak, think, and perform in ways that will help them shine. In the end, they maximize their critical thinking, speaking, and management skills.

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