Website, blog and social media campaign hopes to reach millions with tips to avoid being ripped off by scammers
ENGLEWOOD, Colo., October 9, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) – The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU), a leader in global payment services, and Better Business Bureau today launched BBB Scam Stopper, an education campaign to help consumers inthe United States and Canada avoid common scams that con artists use to commit consumer fraud.
“Western Union devotes extensive resources to stopping fraud,” said Shelley Bernhardt, the company’s Director of Consumer Protection. “Our agents are trained to intervene if they suspect a customer is the victim of a scam. Through our partnership with BBB, we aim to give consumers the information and resources they need to protect themselves and help stop fraud before it gets that far.”
Consumer fraud is a serious problem worldwide. According to the Federal Trade Commission, in the U.S. alone, more than 100 thousand people filed complaints in 2011 about prizes, sweepstakes and lottery scams. That is just one of the many categories of scams consumers face around the world.
“We investigate thousands of scams every year, and we know the tactics that scammers commonly use,” said Carrie Hurt, President and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. “A portion of scams involves the wire transfer of funds, so Western Union is the ideal partner for this campaign. The best defense against fraud is awareness and education. It’s crucial for consumers and business owners to recognize scams before they become victims.”
On the Scam Stopper website, consumers can find facts and tips to stay informed and help reduce their chances of becoming a victim of a scam. The site also explains the science of scams, and how scammers use many of the same “sales tactics” that are used by legitimate businesses. Visitors can also sign up to receive BBB Scam Alerts, weekly emails with the latest scams reported to BBBs across the country.
The site highlights common scams like Emergency Scams (a friend or family member has an emergency, often in another country, and needs money), Overpayment Scams (a buyer overpays and asks for the difference wired back to them), Sweepstakes and Lottery Scams (you’ve won a lot of money, but you have to pre-pay taxes before claiming your prize), and more. Personal finance writer/blogger Erica Sandberg has also joined the effort and is blogging and creating public service announcements about scams and fraud for BBB Scam Stopper.
Information on scams and how to protect yourself is also available at Western Union’s Consumer Protection Center:http://www.westernunion.com/stopfraud.
About Western Union
The Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) is a leader in global payment services. Together with its Vigo, Orlandi Valuta, Pago Facil and Western Union Business Solutions branded payment services, Western Union provides consumers and businesses with fast, reliable and convenient ways to send and receive money around the world, to send payments and to purchase money orders. As of June 30, 2012, the Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services were offered through a combined network of approximately 510,000 agent locations in 200 countries and territories. In 2011, The Western Union Company completed 226 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $81 billion of principal between consumers, and 425 million business payments. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com.
For 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2011, consumers turned to BBB more than 100 million times for Business Reviews on more than 4 million companies and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at www.bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 115 local, independent BBBs across the United States and Canada, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution and industry self-regulation.