Western Union is a very safe way to send money....if you personally know the person to whom your sending it. However, scammers and con artists also use Western Union to receive money. You might think that you know who you're sending money to, but anyone can come up with a fake I.D. to use for picking up money from Western Union.
I've picked up money from Western Union for Sherlock Investigations, and I know that they don't check my I.D. very closely. As long as it looks official, and has my name on it, it'll do. A person could set up a website, lift someone's wallet and use his name on his website, and then use his license when customers send him money through Western Union for something they'll never get.
Western Union is advising people to help prevent consumer fraud. Here is what they're saying:
"Are you sending money to claim lottery or prize winnings, or on a promise of receiving a large amount of money?" (If you didn't enter a lottery, you didn't win the lottery. And if you did enter a lottery, you don't have to pay more money to get your winnings. Duh.)
"Are you sending money because you were 'guaranteed' a credit card or loan?" (Don't pay money to get a credit card or loan.)
"Are you responding to an Internet or phone offer that you aren't sure is honest?" (Never spend more than you can afford to lose on eBay.)
"Are you sending money to someone you don't know or whose identity you can't verify?"
Now, here is something really special that you should know about Western Union. Suppose you just read this blog, and it just happens that you sent money to someone yesterday and now you wish that you hadn't? Well, you might be able to get your money back if you hurry.
Go to Western Union and ask them to stop your money transfer immediately, or call them at 1-800-325-6000. If your money has not been picked up yet, it will be returned to you.
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