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Council of Better Business Bureaus
Western Union & Better Business Bureau Partner to Protect Consumers from Emergency Scams
July 11, 2013

Arlington, VA (July 11, 2013)Better Business Bureau is partnering with the Western Union Company (NYSE: WU) to promote awareness of emergency scams, in which victims are told that their loved one is traveling and needs help. Scammers make urgent pleas for the victim to send money, often to another country. More people travel during the summer, and whenever people are vulnerable, fraudsters will generally attack.

BBB Scam Stopper was jointly launched by BBB and Western Union as a site to help consumers reduce their chances of becoming a victim of a scam. Visitors can sign up to receive BBB Scam Alerts, weekly emails with details on the latest scams reported to BBBs across North America.

“Emergency scams play off peoples’ emotions and strong desire to help friends and family in need,” said Shelley Berhnardt, Director of Consumer Protection at Western Union. “Verify the emergency and resist the urge to act immediately, no matter how dramatic the story is.”

Con artists hack into email or social media accounts and target the victim’s friends and family with frantic requests for money. They impersonate the traveler and claim to have an injury, a lost or stolen wallet, or even say they were arrested. Scammers use the information in these accounts to supply enough personal detail to make their requests appear legitimate.

“The stories are extremely plausible, and many scammers have done their research,” said Carrie A. Hurt, president and CEO of the Council of Better Business Bureaus. “But you should never send money for an emergency situation without verifying that it’s a real emergency. Always check out the story with other family and friends, even if you’ve been told to keep it a secret.”

Information on scams and how to protect yourself is also available at Western Union’s Consumer Protection Center: http://www.westernunion.com/stopfraud.

About BBB

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping consumers find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2012, consumers turned to BBB 124 million times for Business Reviews on more than 4.5 million companies and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for 113 local, independent BBBs across the United States and Canada, as well as home to its national programs on dispute resolution and industry self-regulation.

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 March 31, 2013, the Western Union, Vigo and Orlandi Valuta branded services were offered through a combined network of approximately 515,000 agent locations in 200 countries and territories and approximately 100,000 ATMs. In 2012, The Western Union Company completed 231 million consumer-to-consumer transactions worldwide, moving $79 billion of principal between consumers, and 432 billion business payments. For more information, visit www.westernunion.com.