Millions of dollars are available for victims of scams. The federal government is urging those who lost money through wire fraud involving Western Union to come forward, but time is running out.

It was a calling card for scams for years.

In Your Corner spoke with several seniors, who fell victim in a myriad of ways, convinced they must wire thousands of dollars through Western Union to strangers.

Many feared family was in danger, or that they had hit the jackpot.

But in 2017, a shift in the scam game from the Department of Justice, Federal Trade Commission, and US Postal Inspection Service.

A joint investigation, lead to Western Union admitting to aiding and abetting wire fraud. A settlement was reached, which included $586-million to be disbursed to victims.

“They’re basically finding Western Union had a part to play in not necessarily vetting how people were sending their money, or the reasons they were sending their money,” explained Kitt Letcher with the Better Business Bureau, back in 2018. “So there is some culpability in that transaction for Western Union.”

The BBB urged victims to come forward in 2018, as part of the settlement’s first phase.

Nearly four years later, there’s still money available in Phase 2, but time is running out. The deadline to file was originally July 1st, but has been extended to August 31st.

Those eligible include individuals who wired money to scammers using Western Union between January 2004 and January 19th, 2017.

A variety of scams are covered, including:

  • Lotto or prize scams
  • Grandparent scams
  • Advance fee loan scams
  • Romance scams

“They have figured out there are so many more victims than they originally anticipated,” Kitt Letcher noted.

According to the AARP, more than 148-thousand victims have cashed out so far, with more than $365 million disbursed.

Again you must file your claim by August 31st.

There are a couple ways to file a claim. You can mail your claim to:

United States v. The Western Union Company

PO Box 43532

Providence RI 02940-3532

You can also file a claim online here.