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We frequently warn consumers that a request to wire money is a common sign of a scam. And the Federal Trade Commissioner has, in the past, sued two large companies, MoneyGram and Western Union, for knowingly allowing scammers to use their services to take advantage of consumers.

Both companies settled (learn more about the Western Union settlement here) and agreed to make necessary changes in the interest of consumer protection. However, the FTC and Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a new settlement with MoneyGram, for $125 million, alleging they did not make the required changes, including training agents on how to spot fraud and what action to take if they suspected fraud.

Consumers who wired money to a scammer through MoneyGram since 2013 may be eligible for a refund. If you, or someone you know, might be impacted by this settlement be sure to bookmark http://ftc.gov/MoneyGram to stay informed about the settlement and important dates for refunds.

It is nearly impossible to get wired money back, even if you are the victim of a scam. That’s why scammers rely on wire transfers. Remember, no government agency will ever ask you to wire money for late taxes, government grants, application fees, etc. Same goes for a police department or courthouse. If you are contacted by someone who wants you to pay or send money this way, it is likely a scam. Learn more about different scams and how to spot them here: https://www.mass.gov/guides/a-consumer-guide-to-scams.

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for all Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s Lemon Laws, data breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the state’s Do Not Call Registry.

 

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