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 About Western Union complicity

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googlethis
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:27 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hello guys,

I have been reading the forum for the last couple of hours. Thank you for doing such a wonderful job Smile

I have been "almost" twice during the last decade. I quote the "almost" because the chances of the scammers were close to 0. I never pay anything in advance. That's the rule.

Once, I was looking for a business angel or partner to launch a new venture. I have been contacted by a guy from Italy. Correct English, no African accent. Very professional. He seemed to find my business plan very interesting then he told me that he works for a group of investors. His job is to find hot projects for them to invest into.

We spoke on the phone many times and we exchanged many emails. He sounded very professional and was asking sensible questions about the project...

The day before I was due to travel to Italy to meet the investors (new suit, new leather bag, new shoes...)... he called me to ask me to pay his "fees". He told me that I cannot meet the investors who are waiting for me if I don't pay his fees before.

OK, it was a scam and hopefully I was able to refund my ticket to Italy.


Friends of mine weren't so lucky. They send 2 months rental plus one month deposit for a house in Central London. Perfect location. Incredible price. Money sent to Nigeria. Still waitiing for the DHL with the keys... Sad

I am doing some scambait in French. I am disappointed because I find only stupid scammers. The guys are unmotivated. Answer half of my questions... and lack the most important asset to any scammer: imagination.

The common point between all these stories (1.5 billion USD/year!) is Western Union. Why there isn't a class action against Western Union? Their services are routinely used by scammers from Africa and they do NOTHING against that. These scams are running for more than 2 decades now.

If I want to collect any WU payment in the US or EU I need to provide a valid proof of ID and this ID will be copied and kept by WU. I can't believe that a 1.5 billion/y scam can run for 2 decades using the same process without the active complicity of WU and their agents.

Why there isn't a class action against WU? Should I launch one? This is very serious.
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Ima Baeder
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:39 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Hi googlethis and welcome to Eater.

I'm glad to hear that you were almost scammed and not scammed. Many, many others, like your friends, aren't so lucky.

The reason why there isn't a suit against WU is the same as for why there isn't one against yahoo for the abuse of their email, for GoDaddy for the use of their hosting services to host fraudulent websites, the post office or UPS for delivery of fraudulent checks etc. Western Union is a legitimate service being abused by scammers. They can't ask for everyone to use ID's to send/receive money because that's the whole point of WU, it's meant to be used in an emergency when you may not be able to access your ID. If you were traveling and were mugged and had no money and no ID, you could have someone wire you money.

This topic does come up from time to time. I'll copy some information previously posted by another moderator:

Quote:
WU is a legitimate service that is abused by scammers. Other services that the scammers abuse include, but are not limited to; MoneyGram, TDD/TTY services, the US/UK postal service et al, UPS, Fed Ex, DHL and every single free webmail provider past, present and future.

Western Union is a business, like all businesses, their goal is to make a profit, not to make decisions for their customers or get involved in every aspect of their customers personal affairs. They are aware that the scammers use their service and have even taken the initiative to provide warnings on their website. To my knowledge they are under no legal obligation to do so.

I have gone through the effort to provide some links and PDFs from Western Union's website that clearly addresses specific scams and specific types of scams and even what one should do if they suspect that they may be involved in a scam.

http://www.westernunion.com/info/fraudIndex.asp?country=global
http://www.westernunion.com/info/fraudProtectYourself.asp?country=global
http://www.westernunion.com/info/fraudProtectYourPassword.asp?country=global
http://www.westernunion.com/info/fraudScams.asp?country=global
http://www.westernunion.com/info/fraudTips.asp?country=global

http://members.419eater.com/~jose_cuervo/western_union/wu_pdf1.pdf
http://members.419eater.com/~jose_cuervo/western_union/wu_pdf2.pdf
http://members.419eater.com/~jose_cuervo/western_union/wu_pdf3.pdf

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:46 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

In my opinion, a lawsuit against WU because of scams would be like suing the government because the guy who stole your car got away on the roads it built. WU is used by tons of people to move money around legitimately, and it's really only a means to an end for the scammers. Sure, their preferred method is WU, but they'll take your cash by MoneyGram or bank transfer too. I really don't see A) how WU is supposed to do anything; it's not like they can tell which money transfers are to scammers vs. honest Africans or B) how taking WU out of the picture will help things at all.

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googlethis
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:08 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Thank you guys Smile

Do you remember the lawsuit againt google for the fraudulent clicks on the AdWords? It has been considered that Google was responsible because it didn't protect or try to protect its publishers against fraudulent clicks.

WU is not a Government agency. WU is a private company operated by private people like you and me. If am a transporter and I transport an illegal shipment once, it is okay, accidents do happen. But if I keep transporting illegal stuff for 2 decades, believe me, I will be held liable of it.

In all the money sent to Nigeria, what is the % of legitimate transactions? I am pretty sure that it is minority.

WU is the weakest link in this story.
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gerald.fird
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:18 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

No, actually Nigerian and other people regularly receive money from relatives.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:31 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Most of internet scams money goes to Nigeria
In some countries (like Switzerland), 98% of drugs dealers are from Nigeria...

Most of the money (>90% in my opinion) that goes to Nigeria via WU is fraudulent. My belief is that the WU service to Nigeria should be stopped and have WU pay a huge fine to compensate the victims and the cheated taxman.

The minimum we can ask for is for a full sized audit of Western Union activity in Nigeria.
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gerald.fird
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:37 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

I see your argument, but it's not Western Union's fault. And you can't blame it all on Nigeria. 419 is all over the world. There are people in the United Kingdom who do this.
This is in West Africa 101.
Quote:
WESTERN UNION

he he , at last ...

OK . Western Union is absolutely widespread in Western Africa. Theere is outlets in every village > 1000 people.

On big cities they have a DSL /DIal up and they print all the Control Numbers and the Names in a big paper every couple hours , switch off the system , and then start handling the Cash .

The Questions and Answers are seldom (if ever) used . I have used WU (receiving money from EU) countless time and never ever mention the question.

Depending the country , they can be more or less strict about the passport and names . It is true that they scan/photocopy the details of the dodgy looking people , and some people are BANNED from certain branches. pointless as there are sometimes 10 branches in the same street.

In small villages (Bol in TCHad , for example ) the WesternUnion is just a dude with a cell-tell telephone -more about cell-tell later) , with gives money out of his pocket.

For foreigners, Passport is allways required. I even try to bribe some WU clerk (as I had muy passport stolen ) with no result. they are quite serious.

Queues ? As ussual in Africa , a visit to WU will take you the whole morning . 1st ,ID check , then you need to write the amount you expect , and from whom you expect to receive . Odds are the lads don;t have a pen , and in the WU they ran out of forms.. For me (*and I am Mr Queue Jumper* ) It ussually takes the whole morning -ussually successfully-

Why do WU still handle money to people with no passport?

well , in certain parts of West Africa , Western Union is the ONLY source of income . African migrants in Europe send weekly ammounts , and western union is like some magical "process" in which cash is obtained. A passport , is a luxury in Africa , often only rich people , or business man got one . Most "Jhon Doe" in Africa has absolutely no doccumebntation at all to show . No photo id , no nothing . People are known by their Name , Their Village , and the father. i.e.

Simba (name) , from Makelele (village) , son of Kuto (supposed father)

Deinfitely most of the people using WU (in the receiving end ) lack any form of ID.

Is it Security in the WU Outlets ? Yep . In the bigger cicties , there are always a couple security guards (they are call "Uncle Sams"!) , to avoid pickpocketers and also to avoid non-WU-users to get inside and enjoy the Air-con. For any unknonwn reason , every WU in Africa is got a full-power airconditioning !

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:10 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Also, I would reiterate my earlier point: I really don't think even completely doing away with WU would really help the situation very much - it's merely the most convenient of several ways for the scammers to receive your money. Also, while it's true that many scammers are based in Nigeria, there are plenty in Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, and even Malaysia. Though many of us see WU as an archaic system now used only for illegitimate purposes, it is, as gerald.fird pointed out, pretty much the only way that migrants and immigrants everywhere send much-needed money to their families back home - here in the states, for instance, if you look at the front of a Spanish-speaking grocery store or shop, chances are you will see a great big WU sign. I would, therefore, return to my road allegory; sure, there are people who use roads (and WU) for illegitimate purposes - but many, many more of its users are perfectly honest.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 12:17 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Money Gram settled for $18 million back in April. Not a lot of money, but the FTC was on them:

http://www.jerebeasleyreport.com/2010/04/moneygram-to-pay-18-million-to-settle-ftc-charges/

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:02 am Reply with quoteBack to top

googlethis wrote:
In some countries (like Switzerland), 98% of drugs dealers are from Nigeria...


So what? Are you trying to prove that all Nigerians are crooks or something?

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Ima Baeder
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:24 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Again, I'll state: Western Union is a legitimate service being abused by scammers. Western Union is not responsible for people being scammed. Western Union is intended for use for sending money to "someone you know and trust". I'm about as sympathetic toward scam victims as they come and still, I'll state that victims willingly send their money to someone they do NOT know, using Western Union.

If you didn't follow any of the links in my above post, here is some of the information from one of them:

Quote:
Online Fraud

Sending money to someone you don't know? You could be at risk for consumer fraud.

The Western Union Money Transfer service is a great way to send money to people you know and trust. If you need to send money to someone you don’t know well, you may be putting yourself at risk for fraud.

Because we care about consumers, Western Union urges you to protect yourself from fraud by considering the following:


Never send money to a stranger using a money transfer service.

Beware of deals or opportunities that seem too good to be true.

Don’t use money transfer services to pay for things like online auction purchases.

Never send money to pay for taxes or fees on foreign lottery winnings.


If you think you have been a victim of fraud, please contact your local Western Union Agent.



It is not up to Western Union to block entire countries from receiving transfers. Yes, there are a lot of scammers in Nigeria but there are plenty elsewhere as well. Many, many fake checks are mailed from scammers in Toronto. Should we cut off postal service to Canadians?
Even if all transfers to Nigeria were blocked, that would not stop scammers, even Nigerian scammers. They'd simply get mules to receive their money. They already do this!

Western Union is not culpable for people losing their money to scams, the scammers are.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 3:00 am Reply with quoteBack to top

There's another way of looking at it too. If WU were to be closed down in certain areas of the world because of the actions of scammers, that would impact badly on the legitimate users of WU who just want to send money to relatives.

Nigeria does have a reputation for illegal activity, but think about the millions of honest, hardworking Nigerians who hate having their country labelled as a focus of crime.

I think what's needed is more awareness of the tactics that scammers use, rather than compromise a valuable service that genuine people need. At a slight tangent - I've lost count of the number of emails I've had forwarded to me by a good friend, and which turn out to be hoaxes, and now she understands that she needs to check with Snopes before loading up her entire address book Laughing

It's a good point you're making, GoogleThis, but personally I'd go for more awareness. Perhaps what would be really useful is more information put out by WU themselves in the form of a booklet rather than simply a poster. Something that contains actual examples of scam emails, which is likely to be more effective than warning someone that something might sound too good to be true. There's no connection to scams that pull on the heartstrings or suggest they're helping someone out.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 6:03 am Reply with quoteBack to top

The trouble with westy issuing warnings is, that would then make them culpable if someone is scammed using their service. If they admit they are aware of this, they then open themselves up to prosecution for not taking steps in protecting their customers. Better they plead ignorance and say, percentage wise, this is only a relativity small problem compared to the legitimate number of transfers they make daily. Which statistically is obviously true.

The only way I can ever see western union or money gram taking responsibility, and or stiffening their security is if some very high profile person or celeb gets seriously scammed, then goes public and starts a media campaign to have changes made. That's the way things seem to work these days.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 6:22 am Reply with quoteBack to top

WU already has warnings on its site and at least some of its stores; it doesn't make any claims not to know this is going on.

I have no idea how the courts would interpret it, but there is a limit as to just how far they can go to protect a customer who wants to send the money. Remember that WU's job is to send money from one part of the world to another. So long as it's doing that, and the money is not being intercepted, then it has completed the service it offers.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 6:41 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Have just had a more careful look at WU's site and there is a fraud page with some sample scam emails: http://www.westernunion.co.uk/WUCOMWEB/staticMid.do?method=load&pagename=fraudScams which I hadn't seen before but then I did need to rinse my glasses.

Interesting point - if banks are liable for customers being defrauded, why not MB and WU - or are WU sidestepping the issue because of the massive amount of total compensation there would be. It must come down to the actions of the customer and how much responsibility he or she should take in making sure the business was legit - banking customers can get hacked, or robbed at an ATM for instance, but WU customers make a decision to send money. It's taking an active - albeit unknowing - part in a scam, whereas bank customers are passively defrauded. At what point would the law say personal responsibility stops and corporate liability takes over ..
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 6:41 am Reply with quoteBack to top

I'll play devil's advocate here. It's a good thing WU is so shoddily run.
That's why we send the lads to Secure Shield, the MTCN Vault, MySafeImage,etc. and have them complete endless forms.

When sending by Western Union is no longer an option we might try MoneyGrab, then press for a bank acct. either theirs or a mule's. Get that killed by Alan. And I believe the above process is more effective than
simply hitting WU with a huge class-action suit.

I was gonna say they (WU) print a disclaimer/warning, so I will reiterate so as to repeat and reinforce what Ima pointed out.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:05 am Reply with quoteBack to top

^^^ I should have pointed out that I am aware westy and money grab do have scam warning links on their sites but you have to look for them. And westy have a little box to tick on the transfer form if you are sending money for a lottery win. I used to share the same opinion as the op, but living in a multicultural area with transient immigrant population, I can see the benefit of this cheap easy way to send money back home. But I don't think it would do them any harm, beefing up on warnings and checking a bit more carefully before they send money to certain countries.

To be fair, when some time ago I went into a shop that did westy transfers and asked for a form, (to scan for use on lads) I was given the third degree by the shopkeeper. He wanted to know what I wanted it for and where was I sending the money. I don't know if this was normal practice, or he thought I looked like a mug. The latter I suspect. At the time I felt a bit indignant and just managed to resist the urge to tell him to mind his own business which would no doubt have confirmed his suspicions. Laughing

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 7:17 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Ima Baeder wrote:
Again, I'll state: Western Union is a legitimate service being abused by scammers.

So is Moneygram, but as dwatina said above, they were fined a while back.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 11:33 am Reply with quoteBack to top

Thank you for your reactions guys.

My point is very simple. Today, if run a financial institution, you MUST take all necessary steps to ensure that your services are not abused by scammers, terrorists, pedophile rings... Publish a warning in your website is definitely NOT sufficient.

I live in the UK and if I want to create an account with any financial institution and put into just 100 Pounds, I need to provide: 2 IDs, 2 original proof of address, my employment contract, 8 to 12 forms... My records will be checked and calls made to verify that I am a honest person. I am assumed to be a money launderer until I can prove that I am not.

In the same time, 1.5 BILLION/year is flowing from our economy to Nigeria and handed out to people without ANY verification or traceability.

Why in Europe I need to provide tons of documents to PUT $100 in a bank and in the same time, European and US companies, are HANDING out billions without proper control?

The answer is simple: WU don't care. As long are they have got their fees, their don't care to serve and assist criminals.

Why they not force legitimate users in Nigeria to create WU accounts with proofs or ID, proofs of address, criminal records... ? Why not? They don't want to bother them may be? In the US and EU we pass trough naked scanners and even our children do. Can't we ask people from Nigeria to provide serious et verifiable documents to support their claims?
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 1:14 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

When I first started baiting, I felt the same way. I quickly learned that (a) it is not WU's fault, and (b) scammers will abuse any legitimate service to make a buck. Look at Paypal, for example: Paypal does not allow Nigerians to open accounts, yet scammers from that country (and other countries) have found plenty of ways around the rules, and they will continue to do so as long as there is money to be made.

Again, one of the purposes of Western Union is to provide a way to receive money if you are stranded away from home with no ID (e.g. you are mugged). In order to do this, there has to be a provision for receiving money without ID. And in many of the countries that utilize WU the most, people don't have ID. Plus, even if ID was required, fake ID's aren't all the difficult to come by, and bribes work at more than just WU!

I'm not sure what the claim is supposed to be about banks. Many scammers out there do take money by bank account, and the victim who transferred the money to the scammer typically does NOT get the money back. Liability of banks is typically very limited. Look at fake checks--they can (and do) take the cash back week to months after they give it to you, and then add fees for depositing the checks in the first place!

Like Ima, I tend to spend much of my time working with victims, and I can't tell you how many times a victim will admit that he/she sent the money IN SPITE OF repeated warnings by the Western Union clerk. A couple have actually had clerks go so far as to refuse to process the transfer--and the victim just went to another WU to send the money. This is especially true of romance scam victims, who ignore all the warnings about sending to strangers because they are convinced that they really do know the recipient. A while ago someone posted a video from a convenience store camera showing a clerk making several attempts to warn the victim of a standard 419--but the victim demanded the money be sent anyway. All of these victims were so hooked that they would have used another method to send money if WU was not available.

I just went to the US WU website, and each page I clicked to had a fraud warning on it. I can't speak to other countries.

Going after WU would not solve the problem. As long as law enforcement turns a blind eye to the scammers, they will continue to easily find ways to get money.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:32 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Westernunion.com Front Page wrote:
Protect Your Money

Did someone you don't know personally ask you to send money? DON'T DO IT!


Can't say fairer than that - so everyone who sends online has had the chance to read that, and I believe that offices have similar warnings.

Unfortunately victims are often in denial, and sick and tired of being told to drop their one chance of becoming a millionaire.

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f*ck u asshole ur damn mother will loose ur fcuking skull brain ur brain is nothing to compare with rat f*ck ur u
MY FRIEND ALEX WAS DETAINED IN POLICE STATION
I am not happy due to the question i answered at money office. Let me tell you do not play with me ok.
Pith Helmet 10
x4 United Kingdom New Zealand Mortar Closed lad accounts Sand Timer 6Yrs Tattoo x6 Flying Monkey

Last edited by Roycropper on Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:33 pm; edited 1 time in total
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sagat
Master Baiter


Joined: 18 Dec 2004
Posts: 106


PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:33 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

googlethis wrote:
Most of internet scams money goes to Nigeria
In some countries (like Switzerland), 98% of drugs dealers are from Nigeria...

Most of the money (>90% in my opinion) that goes to Nigeria via WU is fraudulent. My belief is that the WU service to Nigeria should be stopped and have WU pay a huge fine to compensate the victims and the cheated taxman.

The minimum we can ask for is for a full sized audit of Western Union activity in Nigeria.


Where do you get these silly facts from?
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Roycropper
Undead Moderator


Joined: 14 Nov 2005
Posts: 7991
Location: Luxury Coffin


PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 2:34 pm Reply with quoteBack to top

Generalisations like that get threads locked, in my experience.

_________________
the European Union has bounced on our freckles
COULD YOU IMAGINE WHAT HAPPENED WHEN I WENT TO THE BANK
our Agent is Completely broke, pocketless and stranded
I WLL SEND AN AFRICA WITCH TO ATTACH YOU BASTARD
You go die like bird
i started shouting HALLELUJAGOBBLE but none of them notice me immediately police arrested me due to the shouting
f*ck u asshole ur damn mother will loose ur fcuking skull brain ur brain is nothing to compare with rat f*ck ur u
MY FRIEND ALEX WAS DETAINED IN POLICE STATION
I am not happy due to the question i answered at money office. Let me tell you do not play with me ok.
Pith Helmet 10
x4 United Kingdom New Zealand Mortar Closed lad accounts Sand Timer 6Yrs Tattoo x6 Flying Monkey
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