Scam victims can apply for refunds from Western Union

3:10 p.m Monday, Nov. 13, 2017 Local
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Consumers who lost money to scammers by paying money via Western Union money transfer could be eligible for a refund, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

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The FTC reached a $586 million settlement with Western Union in January to resolve charges that the company looked the other way while scammers used its money transfer system for fraud. According to the FTC, Western Union received hundreds of thousands of complaints about fraudulent money transfers but failed to implement effective anti-fraud policies and procedures or discipline problem employees.

Popular scams that use money transfers include the “family emergency” or “grandparent” scam in which someone purporting to be a family member calls with an urgent need for money, like for bail.

RELATED: Officials warn of influx of ‘grandparent scam’ reports

“American consumers lost money while Western Union looked the other way,” said FTC Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen in a press release.

Anyone nationwide who lost money to a scam that utilized a Western Union money transfer from Jan. 1, 2014 to Jan. 19, 2017 can file a claim to get their money back.

To file a claim, go to before February 12, 2018. Filing a claim is free.