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22 January 2018

Compensation for Western Union scam victims

Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission

Thousands of Australians have reported falling victim to a scam involving money transfers through Western Union. Thanks to a successful United States court action, they may be eligible for a refund.

ACIC CEO, Michael Phelan said the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) received close to 3,000 reports from victims who unwittingly wired money to scammers through international banking service, Western Union.

“We urge all victims to visit the Western Union Remission website to determine their eligibility for compensation,” Mr Phelan said.

Western Union admitted to criminal violations and entered into agreements with the US Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission to make $586 million (USD) available to its victims located around the globe.

People who lost money to scammers using the Western Union money transfer system between 1 January 2004 and 19 January 2017 are encouraged to make a claim on the Western Union Remission website on or before 12 February.

A range of scams may be covered by this settlement, including online or internet scams, lottery or prize promotion scams, emergency or grandparent scams, advance-fee loan scams and online dating or romance scams.

The ACIC will contact identified victims and provide information on eligibility and how to make a claim. 

“We are pleased ACORN was able to assist in identifying those affected by these scams and we hope it leads to a positive outcome for those affected,” Mr Phelan said.

“We also encourage victims who haven’t yet reported to ACORN to do so. This assists law enforcement and government agencies to develop the most current national picture of cybercrime affecting Australians."

The ACORN is a national online system that allows the public to easily report cybercrime and provides advice to help people recognise and avoid becoming a victim of different types of cybercrime. Reports made via ACORN are provided to relevant law enforcement agencies for consideration and possible investigation.

Find out more on the Western Union Remission website.

To report a cybercrime or for advice to protect yourself against cybercrime visit www.acorn.gov.au.

Last updated
23 January 2018