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Western Union Settlement opens Floodgate for NZ scam victims

New Zealand victims of Western Union money transfer scams can now claim back their loss thanks to a recent US Government court case

Any New Zealander who has lost money in a scam which involved a Western Union money transfer between 1 January 2004 and 19 January 2017 can submit a claim for a refund of the loss thanks to a settlement between Western Union and the US Government.

MoneyHub’s senior researcher Christopher Walsh said “Wire fraud scams targeting New Zealanders continue to be reported, with many involving Trade Me transactions. Thanks to this recent US government lawsuit (United States vs the Western Union Company), New Zealand victims of fraud who paid money to scammers via a Western Union wire transfer within the coverage period can now apply for a refund”.

“The settlement covers scams such as not receiving goods paid for via Western Union, or not receiving any benefit from a money transfer (such as an illicit transfer request using a forged identity)”.

“Applicants must submit a claim by 12 February 2018 (midday 13 February New Zealand time)” - full details can be found here.

Western Union's settlement for US$586 million (NZ$802m) comes after the company admitted to failing to maintain an effective anti-money-laundering program and aiding and abetting wire fraud as a result. Following the court case, the US Department of Justice has provided commentary to encourage victims of fraud who live anywhere in the world – including New Zealand – to apply for a refund if they lost money transferred via Western Union between the applicable dates. The settlement money received by the government from Western Union will be used to refund verified victims – once all claims are assessed, the settlement money is expected to be apportioned against the total losses.

Applicants will need to submit a form online which covers the details of the fraud, recovery history and contact details.

To ensure an applicant’s claim has the best possible chance of success, MoneyHub advises to only apply directly with the US Government and not any third-party website that appears in Google. Furthermore, MoneyHub advises New Zealand applicants to ignore the field for social security number in the claim form, as it is not required. Only if a claim is successful will bank details be requested.

About MoneyHub was established in 2017 and is dedicated to making financial product choices easier. MoneyHub is a journalist online resource with the aim of providing New Zealanders with the best money guides, tips and tools.

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