On Monday, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that consumers who were victimized by fraudsters through MoneyGram International Inc. between 2013 and 2017 can now file claims to have their money returned. In November 2018, the money transfer service agreed to pay $125 million to settle allegations brought by the FTC and the Department of Justice that it violated a previous governmental agreement to reign in fraud.
The news release explained that “money transfers are a preferred method of payment for fraudsters because money sent through money transfer systems can be picked up quickly at locations all over the world, and once the money is paid out, it is all but impossible for consumers to get their money back.” Additionally, the money transfer systems permit scammers to remain anonymous when receiving money from their victims.
The FTC’s 2018 court filing stated that MoneyGram is available to consumers worldwide through a network of approximately 350,000 agent locations in more than 200 countries and territories. The FTC alleged that MoneyGram violated a 2009 FTC order by failing to create and implement a comprehensive fraud prevention program.
The 2009 order required the company to timely investigate, restrict, suspend, and bar high-fraud agents, and came in response to allegations that between 2004 and 2008 MoneyGram assisted telemarketing schemes by similarly failing to safeguard consumers from fraud-induced money transfers.
Now, victims who did not receive pre-filled forms sent by the FTC earlier this year can file claims online for remission of their lost funds.
“MoneyGram profited by making it easy for con-artists to get away with people’s hard earned money. Today, people can begin to recover, and we urge anyone who lost money to a scammer via MoneyGram to file a claim and get their check,” Daniel Kaufman, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection said. “We’re also committed to ensuring that MoneyGram lives up to its promises in the future to crack down on fraud in its system.”