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Is Sending Money with Western Union Safe?

Safe
December 3rd, 2013

On the whole, the entire process of sending money through Western Union is absolutely safe. You can make sure that the right person gets the money because they have to present valid IDs such as a passport or a driver’s license before they can collect the money. As the sender, you also get a special transaction number (MTCN) which you can share with the recipient, and the person claiming the money you sent has to disclose that secret number.

The Danger of Using Money Transfer Services

So what’s the problem? The problem isn’t with Western Union. The problem is whether or not you should be sending the money at all! There are a lot of scammers out there, and they may be able to convince you to send them money through Western Union.

Here are some examples:

  • You see something being sold online, and you’re asked to send the payment through Western Union before the seller delivers the item. Often, once you send the money the seller disappears and you’ll never receive the item that you supposedly bought.
  • You’re told by an “official” abroad (such as a lawyer or a police officer, or even a doctor) that a family member is hurt or has been arrested, and you need to send money in order to help. If you don’t verify this claim by talking to that family member directly through video chat, or at least by phone and asking questions only the he or she would know the answer to, then you’re sending your money to a scam artist.
  • You have won something, but you need to pay a fee first through Western Union before you can claim your prize. The truth is there’s actually no prize for you at all.

Money Transfer Commandments

Here are several rules you should follow in order to lessen the chances of being victimized by scammers:

  • Don’t ever send money through Western Union for purchases you’ve made online. You can use Paypal and other similar payment systems.
  • Make sure you thoroughly verify any emergency before you send money to a family member or loved one.
  • If you are sent a message telling you that you’ve won a lottery or received an inheritance but you need to send money first, don’t believe it.
  • Ignore any email that asks for personal info, as well as any info regarding your online account or credit card details.
  • Ignore any email that includes links to a supposedly “official” Western Union website. Type http://www.westernunion.com in your address browser instead if you want to be really sure.

What Western Union Is Doing against Scam Artists

The Western Union website has plenty of information regard scams that may be perpetrated against you. Go there and read up on all the informative articles that may just save you from being duped.

Western Union is also partnering with consumer protection organizations as well as law enforcement groups in order to fight fraud. For the most part, Western Union has been laboring hard to educate as many people as possible about scams that may involve sending money through them. The company is running numerous ads, sponsoring educational programs, and also partnering with consumer advocate groups to increase awareness and prevent people from getting scammed.


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