Rutledge, Western Union Reach Settlement Regarding Wire Transfers Defrauding Consumers

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January 31, 2017

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has reached a multistate settlement agreement with the Colorado-based Western Union Co. to resolve an investigation that focused on complaints of consumers who used Western Union’s wire transfer service to send money to third parties involved in schemes to defraud consumers.

“Scam artists continue to find new ways to convince unsuspecting consumers to wire them money using services like Western Union,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “While my office continues to educate Arkansans about the dangers of wiring money to someone you don’t know, companies like Western Union should have protections in place to help consumers spot these types of scams. Wire transfers cannot be tracked to be returned to the original sender if it is found to be a scam.”

The settlement requires Western Union to develop and put into action a comprehensive anti-fraud program designed to help detect and prevent incidents where consumers who have been the victims of fraud use Western Union to wire money to scam artists.

That anti-fraud program, which Western Union has agreed to evaluate and update as warranted, includes the following elements:

  • Anti-fraud warnings on send forms that consumers use to wire money
  • Mandatory and appropriate training and education for Western Union’s agents about fraud-induced wire transfers
  • Heightened anti-fraud procedures when warranted by circumstances, such as increased fraud complaints
  • Due diligence checks on Western Union agents who process money transfers
  • Monitoring of Western Union agent activity related to prevention for fraud-induced money transfers
  • Prompt and appropriate disciplinary action against Western Union agents who fail to follow required protocols concerns anti-fraud measures.

Western Union has agreed to pay a total of $5 million to the 49 states and the District of Columbia for costs and fees. Arkansas is slated to receive more than $53,000. Western Union also settled claims related to fraud-induced transfers with the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice that was announced earlier this month. As part of those related settlements, Western Union has agreed to pay $586 million to a fund that the Department of Justice will administer to provide restitution to victims of fraud induced wire transfers nationwide, including Arkansans.

More information about the settlements is available at Justice.gov.

Arkansas, along with Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming and the District of Columbia were part of the investigation and settlement.

About Attorney General Leslie Rutledge

Leslie Carol Rutledge is the 56th Attorney General of Arkansas. She is the first woman and first Republican in Arkansas history to be elected to the office. Since taking office, she has begun a Mobile Office program, a Military and Veterans Initiative, a Metal Theft Prevention program and a Cooperative Disability Investigations program. She has led efforts to teach internet safety, combat domestic violence and make the office the top law firm for Arkansans. Rutledge also serves on the Executive Committee of the Republican Attorneys General Association and re-established and co-chairs the National Association of Attorneys General Committee on Agriculture.

A native of Batesville, she is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. Rutledge clerked for the Arkansas Court of Appeals, was Deputy Counsel for Gov. Mike Huckabee, served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Lonoke County and subsequently was an Attorney at the Department of Human Services before serving as Counsel at the Republican National Committee. Rutledge and her husband, Boyce, have a home in Pulaski County and a farm in Crittenden County.

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