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TOPEKA – (May 1, 2018) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today reminded consumers that the deadline is approaching to file for a refund of money sent by wire transfer to scammers. Since the most recent reminder sent by the attorney general’s office last month, at least 175 additional Kansans have claimed refunds totaling more than $700,000.
Consumers who used Western Union to transmit money to scammers are eligible to file for refunds from Western Union. The deadline for filing those claims is May 31. To be eligible for a refund, fraud must have been involved in the transaction, and the wire transfer must have occurred between January 1, 2004, and January 19, 2017.
“Kansans who sent money by Western Union wire transfer and lost it to a grandparent scam, an IRS scam, a foreign lottery scam, or any of the countless other frauds have a rare chance to get their money back,” Schmidt said. “But to get their refund, they must file a claim before May 31.”
Last month, the attorney general’s office took the unusual step of directly notifying more than 25,000 Kansans who had wired $1,500 or more via Western Union in recent years. Kansans who wired $500 or more to one of 20 countries considered to be high-risk for scams also received the notice. During the month of April, the attorney general’s office answered hundreds of telephone calls and emails from consumers who received the notice and who had questions about the claims process, in addition to assisting 175 Kansas residents file claims totaling more than $700,000.
The refunds are being made as part of a settlement reached with Western Union in 2017. Several states and federal government agencies had accused the company of knowingly allowing its wire-transfer services to be used by scammers to defraud people. As part of the settlement, Western Union set aside $586 million to pay claims for refunds from people who lost money to scammers and transmitted the lost funds by Western Union wire transfer.
Schmidt said any Kansans who have been scammed and may qualify for a refund, whether or not they receive the attorney general’s notice by mail, may file for a refund. He said the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division will assist Kansans who have questions or who need help with claiming a refund. The Consumer Protection Division can be contacted at (800) 432-2310 or at CProtect@ag.ks.gov. For more information, visit www.InYourCornerKansas.org.