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December 1, 2017

Media Contact: Liz Brocker (701) 328-2213

BISMARCK, ND - Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem announced today that North Dakota consumers who were deceived into sending payments to scammers using Western Union's wire transfer service may be eligible for compensation from a $586 million fund that will be administered by the US Department of Justice. The Victim Asset Recovery Program Fund was established by Western Union as a condition of the multistate settlement it entered into with all fifty states and the District of Columbia, relating to fraud-induced money wire transfer services occurring between January 1, 2004 and January 19, 2017.

Scam artists often ask their victims to send money via Western Union because it is instantly accessible anywhere in the world and almost impossible to track once the money is sent. In the settlement agreement, Western Union acknowledged that it failed to take reasonable steps to prevent fraudulent wire transfers, to properly train staff to identify potential fraud, or to investigate suspicious transactions, resulting in millions of dollars in losses for scam victims.

Anyone who has lost money in a scam using Western Union wire transfer services is eligible to file a claim. How much money each person will receive will depend on the total number of eligible claims submitted. Individuals who previously reported to Western Union or the Attorney General's Office that they were the victim of a scam using Western Union should automatically receive a claim form in the mail from the Settlement Administrator. The form includes instructions on how to file the claim and receive compensation. Completed claims forms must be submitted to the Settlement Administrator on or before February 12, 2018.

Attorney General Stenehjem encourages North Dakota consumers to take advantage of this opportunity for compensation. “If you sent money via Western Union and were the victim of a scam, this is your chance to get some of your money back,” said Stenehjem.

Common scams in which the victim is instructed to wire money include the fake Lottery or Sweepstakes win, the grandparent scam, the Fake IRS call, and online dating scams.

For more information or to obtain a claim form, visit Western Union Settlement, or call the Settlement Administrator at 1-844-319-2124.

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