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Fraud victims who paid via Western Union can file claim

Hawaii consumers who were deceived into sending payments to scammers using Western Union’s wire transfer service may now apply for compensation by filing a claim, according to Stephen Levins, executive director of the State of Hawaii Office of Consumer Protection.

Consumers may be eligible to receive compensation if they were a victim of a fraud-induced transfer using Western Union between Jan. 1, 2004 and Jan. 19, 2017.

The claims must be filed at or via mail by Feb. 12, 2018.

In January, Western Union agreed to pay $586 million to resolve charges brought by the Federal Trade Commission and the U. S. Department of Justice.

The FTC alleged that fraudsters were able to use Western Union’s money transfer system to get payments from their victims, even though the company was aware of the problem and received hundreds of thousands of complaints about fraud-induced money transfers made for fraudulent lottery and prizes, family emergencies, advance-fee loans, online dating and other scams.

Consumers who already reported their losses to Western Union, the FTC, or to the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs will receive a form in the mail from Gilardi & Co. with a claim ID and PIN number. The Department of Justice hired Gilardi as the claims administrator.

Consumers should be aware that filing a claim is free and that no one associated with the claims process will ever call to ask for their bank account or credit card number. Eligible consumers who did not receive a claim form in the mail can visit or call 1-844-319-2124.

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